Ruth Phillips covers a wide range of musical styles, with performances in improvised, dance and world music featuring regularly alongside her successful career as a modern and baroque cellist.
Ruth was Born in London in 1964. With her father a painter, and her mother a music teacher and author, Ruth grew up in a Bohemian household surrounded by distinguished artists, musicians and writers from all over the world. It was here that the seed of her eclectic taste was planted and, when she left the Yehudi Menuhin School to study the cello in Germany and later in New York, she continued to pursue these interests, taking courses in jazz, folk, world music, yoga, Alexander Technique, meditation and dance. As a result of this wide experience, Ruth not only enjoys an international career as a vibrant performer, but is sought after as an innovative and exciting teacher and chamber music coach, passionately committed to rediscovering the body as the primary instrument, and the spirit of performance as something spontaneous and natural.
Ruth studied at the Robert Schumann Institut in Dusseldorf with Johannes Goritzki, at the International Musicians' Seminar in Cornwall with Sandor Vegh, and at the State University of New York with Timothy Eddy, where she received her Masters degree in performance. She has played with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, The New London Consort, the Gabrieli Consort, and the Hanover Band. She was a member of Glyndebourne Touring Opera for twelve years where she played continuo in the 2001 production of Mozart's 'Marriage of Figaro', and in the Peter Sellars' 2003 production of Handel's 'Theodora' with Emanuelle Haim. Since moving to France in 2004, she has been working with the Musiciens du Louvre, Garsington Opera, Opera Fuoco and the Concert d'Astrée.
In 1999 Ruth gained a Masters degree in Voice-Movement-Therapy, and went on to found 'The Dance of Sound', giving concerts and workshops with the Jazz singer, Carol Grimes and 5 Rhythms dancer Sophie Ferman. The workshops were specifically designed for those suffering from stage fright and used theatre, improvisation and breathing techniques to help transform fear into positive adrenalin and a desire to perform. Drawing on all this experience, in 2012 Ruth started 'A Cello in Provence' - individual cello retreats specializing in relaxation and stage presence which she runs from her home in the Vaucluse.
in 2006 and 2007, in the Brighton Healing Sounds Festival, Ruth collaborated with Sophie Ferman on performances in which improvised dance shed a fresh light on Bach's cello Suites.
Ruth gives master-classes at Dartington summer school, Alcala International Festival, Lowri Blakes courses Cellos at Belle Serre, and Ellen Jewett's festival in Turkey, Klassik Keyifler. She has taught at the Guildhall School of Music in London, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Bath Spa University, East Sussex Academy and Toulouse Conservatoire. She worked for many years with the Glyndebourne Education programme and has coached the young cellists in the East Sussex Youth Orchestra and European Youth Summer Music.
Ruth lives in Provence with her husband, the painter Julian Merrow-Smith, and their son Louis.
What People Say....
"I have recently had the pleasure of receiving tuition from Ruth Phillips. Her approach to teaching is such that she creates an environment that can only allow the pupil to develop in all areas. It is rare to find a teacher that can combine all aspects of musicianship and convey them in a clear, logical, and essentially human way. What is particularly informative is Ruths understanding of the relationship between the mental (interpretative) and physical being her intense musical understanding and knowledge expressed not only through sound but also through a physical technique, which, if singled out, is an art form of its own. She then has the ability to relate these connections with everyday life experiences in a revelatory manner. Ruth's knowledge of many different musical styles and techniques also has a profound affect on the pupil. It makes you realize that all music, whether simple or complex, is in some way related, and how much we can learn from appreciating other musicians, styles, and cultures. The result is a well-rounded musician with a broad interpretation. However, it is Ruths own relationship with her cello that is most educational. She literally embraces it as if it were an extension of her own body, constantly working with it to create an atmosphere of enlightenment and artistic satisfaction.
She is an inspiration and a true artist."
Student at Trinity College, London
"In addition to being a gifted and accomplished cellist, Ruth Phillips has developed movement and body awareness skills to a point where she can use them effectively in helping students to address their physical and emotional relationship with their instrument. She is a fine poet whose use of imagery combined with her clear ability to articulate the core principals of Voice-Movement-Therapy in the service of aspiring string players has enabled her to take this work into a whole new area"
Anne Brownell, MA, LMHC, DipVMT.
"Your thesis, The Breathing Bow, is an amazing accomplishment. There is so much evidence in your discourse of your passionate search for the roots of music; its nature and ways to find it. Congratulations on articulating what you' ve discovered and setting it down in a clear and poetic way."
Professor of cello and chamber music at The Julliard School of Music and State University of New York, Stony Brook.
"Thank you so much for all that I have learned and for all that you have given out to us. I feel that you have changed my whole physical thinking of my relationship with my cello"
Participant in cello workshop at Dartington. 2000