In Memoriam: Phil Quartararo ‘77

A listener who tuned into a pop radio station at any point over the last 30 years more than likely would have heard a catchy song from stars influenced by Phil Quartararo ‘77.  

The veteran music executive introduced U2 to the United States in the 1980s and developed the careers of artists like Paula Abdul, Linkin Park and the Spice Girls. And that was only a small number of the big-name performers who worked with someone who became known fondly in the industry as “Phil Q.”  

Just as important to Quartararo was his dedication to Syracuse University and the Newhouse School, and a commitment to helping develop future leaders of the music industry. Quartararo was one of a handful of executives who worked with Martin Bandier ‘62 and the University to create the Bandier Program for Recording and Entertainment Industries.  

Quartararo died Nov. 22 in Los Angeles of pancreatic cancer. He was 67. 

Phil Quartararo portrait
Phil Quartararo ‘77

Born in New York City, Philip Michael Quartararo led EMI Records, Virgin Records and Warner Bros. records during his influential career. Quartararo, a longtime Newhouse Advisory Board member, was also a strong supporter of the Bandier Program’s move to the Newhouse School. 

“Phil was an outstanding board member, and one I had come to count upon for wise counsel, especially when it came to the music industry, future opportunities for Newhouse in audio, and our growing presence in Southern California,” Dean Mark J. Lodato said.  

He recounted last seeing Quartararo in October in California for the celebration of the Kari and Dick Clark Foundation’s Forever Orange Campaign gift to expand the University’s presence in Los Angeles and impact in the entertainment field. 

“He was as positive as ever,” Lodato recalled, “and as he always did, pledged his full support to me and the Newhouse School. I often heard this refrain from Phil: ‘Whatever you need, Mark!’” 

Quartararo first began booking acts in high school and took a job as a college representative for A&M Records while studying at Newhouse, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in television, radio and film. He then moved to Buffalo as the local promotional representative for A&M, where he helped break in artists like The Police and Bryan Adams.  

It was the start of 46-year career that included leadership positions with nearly every major record label. Quartararo was named Billboard’s Music Executive of the Year Award in 2001. 

Bill Werde, director of the Bandier Program, described Quartararo as a “beloved founding father” who was a trusted advisor to many in the program and Newhouse. “A role he clearly cherished was that of helping the next generation of music industry leaders,” Werde said.  

A funeral service was scheduled for Thursday in Santa Monica, California, with a Mass of Celebration being planned in New York City sometime in January. Another celebration of Quartararo’s life is planned for Jan. 29 in Los Angeles, which is the start of Grammy Awards week.  

In lieu of flowers, Quartararo’s family has asked for donations to be made in his memory to the Phil Q Memorial Fund at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Donations may be made online at or sent to Syracuse University, 640 Skytop Road, 2nd Floor, Syracuse, NY 13244. For more information contact Lynn Vanderhoek at