Having spent much of his spare time as a schoolboy deeply involved in music-making, it is, perhaps, understandable that Philip reached the end of his student days in almost complete ignorance of the world of ballet. It came, therefore, as a surprise when his first professional post as a cellist was with the Orchestra of the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (later the Birmingham Royal Ballet). The learning curve was steep indeed but after astonishment had turned to delight he found this new world to be full of fascination and musical opportunity. Since then, ballet has been an important part of his musical life, both as cellist and, subsequently, as conductor. He has conducted for some of the greatest dancers and companies in the world including the Royal Ballet in Covent Garden and the Swedish Royal Ballet in Stockholm. He has also made highly successful working relationships with many leading directors and choreographers including Sir Peter Wright, Harold King, Madeleine Onne, William Tuckett, Cathy Marston, Tom Sapsford, Irek Mukhamedov, Christine Sundt, Matthew Hart, Morgann Runacre-Temple, Samantha Raine and the late, great David Fielding. Since 1998 he has been Musical Director of the London Children’s Ballet.
“Unlike opera, whose participants are all trained musicians, ballet is very much a synthesis of two distinct art forms: ballet, based on the rhythms of the body and movement; and music, based on breathing and singing. Dancers are often no more trained in music than musicians are trained in dance and so the two creative contributors to a new ballet, choreographer and composer, can find themselves speaking fundamentally different languages with incomprehension often the result. The job of a musical director in this case is simply to act as an interpreter, allowing each to understand what the other is, and sometimes more importantly, is not saying.”