Phillip Morgan was born in Neath in 1952. He learnt the piano at six and the violin at eleven at the local grammar school, his first and most important teacher being Fred Herbert. Phillip soon became leader of the school orchestra, the West Glamorgan Youth Orchestra and, while still at school he understudied for Alfredo Campoli in the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Neath Symphony Orchestra, with whom he also performed as a soloist on several occasions, playing the Bach E major Concerto and the Svendsen Romance, appearing in the same concert as Semprini. Phillip regards his formative years as a budding musician as extremely fortunate and has much respect for the other important influences on his development namely his music teacher, John Jenkins, the Music Adviser for Glamorgan, Russell Sheppard, and the former conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Arthur Davison. For example, by the time he entered higher education he had already been exposed to a considerable amount of the orchestral repertoire.
In the early 1970's Phillip was leader of the Glamorgan Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and appeared with both as a soloist. He continued his violin studies with Yossi Zivoni and Clifford Knowles at the Royal Manchester College of Music from 1970 to 1974, gaining his GRSM and ARMCM diplomas in 1973. Being also a student of the Joint Course at Manchester University, he graduated with his Mus.B. Hons in 1974, specialising in Performance, and played many concerts with Professor Philip Cranmer from 1970 to 1974 whom Phillip describes as his guiding light at this time. Phillip was leader of the Manchester University Music Society Orchestra, and the University Chamber Orchestra and performed as a soloist with both orchestras for several years. His passion for directing Baroque masterpieces also was born at this time: to Phillip, directing an ensemble is much more immediate and rewarding than conducting this type of music as, in his words, you are primus inter pares. You are the director, but also an equal to the others, and this activity must earn the respect of your players!
In 1974 Phillip won a Leverhulme Scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Sidney Griller from 1974 to 1975. His mentor, Philip Cranmer, had also moved to London to become Secretary for the Associated Board and whom he met once during that year for further advice, and then returned to Manchester University to study for his Master's degree, which he gained in 1976, again specialising in Performance, and the 18th Century. During that time, his artistry progressed, even though he had to cope with the loss of his mother just in the middle of his Masters' examinations.
Throughout the 1970's Phillip freelanced with several leading orchestras in London and Manchester including the BBC Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the Philharmonia and the Manchester Camerata, of which he was a founder and leading member in 1972. During this time he also conducted the Camerata and directed various ensembles. Phillip performed at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1974, with Sir Geraint Evans and the English Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Daniel Barenboim, as one of the on-stage soloists of the two stage-bands near the end of act one of Mozart's Don Giovanni, performing one of the contra-dances, which is one of the most challenging moments in the operatic repertoire as the three groups of musicians play against each other in different metres. In August 1975, when democracy had been restored to Greece, Phillip toured with the Royal Philharmonic and performed at the Athens Festival. Having fallen in love with Greece and her people he moved to Kifissia, Athens in 1978 to take up his first teaching post at the Hellenic International School and, subsequently, the American Community School in Halandri, Athens. He also performed a recital at the British Council, Athens in 1980 on both instruments.
On his return to the United Kingdom in 1980, he studied for his Certificate in Education, which he gained in 1981, and then was appointed teacher of music at the Rudolf Steiner School in East Sussex. He directed the Jupiter Chamber Orchestra from 1980 to 1986 and the Ashdown Philomusica, working with leading soloists and players from London including Nicholas Logie, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Perry Hart , John Anderson and Peter Donohoe. His performances with the Jupiter Chamber Orchestra were the result of inspired direction whether from the baton or direct from his violin. In one concert to commemorate the tercentenary of Bach and Handel's birth in 1685, he played three differently-sized instruments i.e. a violino piccolo, ordinary violin and viola in three of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos with typical ease and panache. Since then, he has held various teaching appointments, his last being Director of Music at Surbiton High School for Girls, which he left in 1999 to look after his two children and has busked and performed at weddings and parties etc. in The Strad (July 1976: 18th Century staccato) and Classical Music Fortnightly (May 1988: Busking an alternative medium). He developed his music technology skills while working at Harris City Technology College from 1990 to 1992. Ironically, on the eve of his first teaching day, he had to cope with a further loss i.e. that of his father. Again, however, this strengthened him and he sought the power of healing from music. Phillip has given a picture of his professional and, in part, his personal life. He has performed at all kinds of venues and in front of all types of people. He is a classless musician and is never happier than when he is sharing his art with others on the street, believing that music breaks down barriers. As a conductor, he has been known to move an audience to tears as per his rendition of Adiemus by Karl Jenkins in 1997 at a Surbiton High School Prize-giving ceremony. He has a wide and eclectic repertoire and his playing is characterised by its sincerity, depth of tone, secure intonation and a perfect balance between live performance and recorded accompaniments.
Phillip welcomes you to his world of music, which is appropriate for all types of occasion: music is truly the universal language of mankind and it is part of Phillip's mission to demonstrate this truth at all times and in all places. He possesses "absolute pitch"; but, apart from this gift from God, he is also able to get behind the notes to produce performances which are true to the composer's original intentions and he uses his considerable skills and experience to do so. Phillip is known for his sense of humour and his ability to express the whole gamut of emotions with utter passion and intensity. He currently owns two acoustic violins by Ron Praill, which were especially made for him, and a Yamaha YEV 104 NT electric violin, which he mainly uses for work in large spaces. However, because of his own idiosyncrasies, he sounds the same on any instrument. All fees and choice of repertoire are by negotiation.
STOP PRESS as of 2nd September, 2016, he was threatened with arrest in Kos town for allegedly "asking for money" because his case was open!
Phillip is now in the middle of producing CDs, which will be ready by Christmas 2019, and an educational project entitled "Breaking down barriers" in which he dresses up in various costumes and plays various styles of music which have to be mixed and matched. Also, he is producing videos of his playing in La Gomera and Kos which are entitled "In tune with the world". This project includes him playing in the actual shots in an amphtheatre in La Gomera, filmed by his good friend and lifeguard, Stefany Conteras, and also including just the music and and beautiful scenery so that viewers can use their own imagination when they watch and listen. For example, he has deliberately chosen "Amazing Grace" played against a Greek sunset in Agios Theologou at the bottom of Kos island and Cat Stevens' version of "Morning has broken" to the backdrop of the sunrise at the ruins of the Basilica of Agios Stefanos near Kastri Island in Kefalos, Kos. On a more humorous note, he has just recently filmed playing 007 as he walks down the length of the swimming pool at the Pantheon Studios, Kefalos, playing the main theme tune using special bowing techniques to disorientate an alligator (inflatable) and then dives into the pool, having stunned it with two watermelons ( 0 0 ) and a 7 made out of polystyrene, wrestlling with the alligator, karate chopping it to sychronise with the music, and eventually shoots/squirts it on the final chord with his Water PPK! He has made this in loving memory of the late and great Sir Roger Moore and is most grateful to Janet and Panos and Babis and Maria for allowing him to film at the Pantheon Studios and Apartments, Kefalos.
Phillip can be found on facebook: just look for Phillip Morgan, Claygate or Gemini Busker, Licensed to Thrill 007. Similarly, linkedin.