Former Cathedral of St. Helena music director uses Iraq War experience in his symphony

Former Cathedral of St. Helena music director Jason Phillips, a composer and combat veteran deployed twice to Iraq from 2003 to 2004 as a U.S. Army journalist and photographer, said he recently completed his dissertation composition, “A Soldier’s Symphony,” and graduated May 6 from Arizona State University with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

Jason Phillips

Kevin Hudson

“A Soldier’s Symphony” provides a musical glimpse into Phillips’ journey from battlefield combat in Iraq to mental health battles at home, including a mental health breakdown and the subsequent efforts to rebuild his life.

Phillips, who continues to experience combat related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, also suffers from what he calls combat death and suffering experience (CDSE), a condition he has introduced to describe his own wartime and post-war experiences.

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By telling his story and through performances of his music, Phillips said he hopes to raise awareness of and build support for combat veterans who struggle with lifelong physical and mental health challenges, and to inspire them to never

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