Winning the Raymond Ffenell Prize at the Royal College of Music, he graduated with Distinction, studying Piano initially under Peter Element, and then with Cyril Smith, part of the well-known three-handed Duo with second wife, Phyllis Sellick, who died in May 2007 at the ripe old age of 95, Recorder with leading pedagogue, Freda Dinn, and Composition & Theory with Bryan Kelly.
Philip was born in Plymouth, Devon, in South West England, and received his Secondary education at one of the city's longest-serving grammar schools, Devonport High School for Boys, taking 'A' levels in Music, German and French. Click for a photo of the School Prefects, when Philip was in the Sixth Form (or Year 13), or here to go to Philip's transcription of the former School Song. During this time he gained the Silver Medal at Grade 8 Piano, for the second highest marks in the UK in any practical subject, awarded by The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, as well as school prizes in Music, German, and French, and the city-wide Steele Pearce Award for Music.
He went on to study at Cambridge University, the Royal College of Music, Exeter University Institute of Education, privately, and as an external student of Durham University.
Musician and Music Writer
While at the Royal College of Music, Philip also received coaching in Conducting from Owain Arwel Hughes, and additional Composition & Palaeography lessons from Dr Lloyd Ultan, a former Professor of Music at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Philip retired from full-time teaching in 1997, after more than twenty-five years in the secondary school sector, initially in Cornwall and then in Devon, and where he was especially involved in the use, and development of electronic keyboards in the class room. Opposite is the music room at Coombe Dean School, in Plymouth, where Philip was Head of Music from 1984-1997. Now through his compositions and arrangements, he still maintains an involvement in school music-making, as this excerpt from Harrow Public School's magazine, The Harrovian, shows - and, to avoid any 'bias', another of his arrangements was also aired at Eton College!
Many years after the event, Philip recently received an email out of the blue from the grand-daughter of someone who had quite by chance come across a 45 rpm vinyl record which Philip had been involved in at his second school. Click for further information, with links to Save Our World and Wonderful Life.
He has appeared as concerto soloist with the Combined Orchestras of HM Royal Marines, Plymouth, on a number of occasions, and with the Devon County Youth Orchestra, and Concert Wind Band. He has also given piano recitals within the UK and abroad, together with radio and TV broadcasts, and was a national finalist in the Yamaha Electone Electronic Organ Competition.
Click to listen to Philip playing the Overture to Gilbert & Sullivan's opera, HMS Pinafore on his EL-90 organ, part of his presentation at the Trinity College, London Examiners' Conference in Peterborough, 2001.
Having conducted a number of choirs and operatic societies in the South West of England, Philip undertook a School-teacher Placement at the Royal Opera House, subsequently gaining a Certificate in Professional Development.
In addition to private teaching, performing and composing, Philip contributed a weekly page and regular concert reviews for the Plymouth Herald, as well as providing programme notes for a number of organisations, both in the local area and further afield. He has also written occasional reviews of music and music software, and articles for magazines like Devon Life.
He has worked as a Grade and Diploma examiner, and syllabus consultant (Electronic Organ) with Trinity College London, and a Performance and Composition Moderator at GCSE Music. He has also contributed a book on the Piano Concertos of the Irish composer, John Field, to the Reference section of Plymouth Library Service.
In October 2002, Philip was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, reflecting his contribution to the promotion of classical music in the Plymouth local area, through his columns, articles and reviews at the Plymouth Herald newspaper. Read Martin Freeman's feature-length interview with Philip - 'A noteworthy career at the keyboards' - Plymouth Herald, March 2010.
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