Philip Higham

violoncello
biography

'a major talent… Higham offered object lessons in lyrical sensitivity, musical architecture and expressive insight…' (Washington Post, The Phillips Collection, 31 March 2014)

Philip Higham has been described as 'possessing that rare combination of refined technique with subtle and expressive musicianship… all the qualities of a world-class artist' (The Strad), and has been praised for his 'expansive but tender playing' (Gramophone). It is these qualities that distinguish him as one of the most prominent young cellists from the UK.

Already in high demand, in recent months Philip has appeared as soloist with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra at Bridgewater Hall (broadcast by BBC Radio 3), the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He has given recitals at the Wigmore Hall, St. John's Smith Square, Brighton Festival, the City of London Festival, Gower Festival and Lichfield Festival, and further afield in Germany and Istanbul. The 2013/14 season saw Philip's USA debut at the Phillips Collection in Washington and a concert as part of the Britten Centenary in Aldeburgh (broadcast by BBC Radio 3). Upcoming concerts include appearances at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Three Choirs Festival, Branscombe Festival and Salisbury Festival, a performance of the complete Bach Suites in Tokyo at the Musashino Cultural Foundation, and a return visit to the Wigmore Hall.

In 2013 Delphian Records released Philip's debut recording of the Britten Solo Suites to critical acclaim. The disc won the title of 'Instrumental disc of the month' in Gramophone Magazine and 'Instrumental Choice' in BBC Music Magazine, being lauded as 'A 5-star performance'. In 2014 Philip embarks on a keenly-awaited recording of the complete Bach Suites due for release in 2015.

 Born in Edinburgh, Philip studied at the RNCM with Emma Ferrand and Ralph Kirshbaum. Early in his career he won top prizes at major international competitions including 1st Prize in the 2008 Bach Leipzig and 2009 Lutoslawski Competitions, and 2nd Prize in the 2010 Feuermann Competition. He was selected by the Young Classical Artist Trust in 2009. Philip plays a fine Milanese cello by Carlo Giuseppe Testore, made in 1697.

 


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Reviews
Scottish cellist Philip Higham makes American debut at the Phillips Collection
2014-03-31 Washington Post, Phillips Collection, Washington DC
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Philip Higham is a major talent.  In repertoire that has confounded more seasoned artists, Higham offered object lessons in lyrical sensitivity, musical architecture and expressive insight.

He impressed with the clarity of his passagework, sensitivity of his phrasing and the ease of his expression, which took on an intimate, conversational quality.

Higham's interpretations of Bach drew upon the full resources of modern cello playing: lyrical phrasing, contoured lines, graceful rubato and subtle gradations of color and dynamics.  Yet he balanced refined expression with the dancelike character of the music, delightfully bringing out, for example, the playfulness of the First Suite's courante and the driving rhythms of the concluding gigue.

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(Simon Chin)
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One of the most impressive young British cellists..... he has all the qualities of a world-class artist.
2012-06-01 The Strad magazine, London
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Philip Higham is undoubtedly one of the most impressive young British cellists I have heard in a decade, possessing that rare combination of refined technique with subtle and expressive musicianship….he has all the qualities of a world-class artist. The Strad Wigmore Hall June 2012

 

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4 Star Review
2014-01-26 The Independent, Britten Solo Cello Suites recording for Delphian
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Young British cellist Philip Higham offers impressive interpretations here, grabbing attention right from the hypnotically mournful opening of the first suite.

The Independent 4 star review Britten Suites for Solo Cello Delphian 26 January 2013

 

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International Record Review
2014-03-01 Magazine, Britten Solo Cello Suites Delphian Recording
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'Higham's playing...contrives to make each movement, and by extension the whole work, a gripping experience. I have heard no more convincing performance of the Second Suite than this one... More remarkable still, however, is the psychological insight. Higham plays with a wisdom that belies his years... This one should be near the top of your list... It is very special.'

International Record Review / Delphian Solo Britten Suites   March 2013

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BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Choice
2014-04-01 BBC Music Magazine, Delphian Britten Solo Cello Suites recording
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'...there's nowhere to hide in three solo suites, but why hide a technique as assured, a musical imagination so finely attuned to Britten's expression, or a Tecchler cello sound as burnished and wonderfully textured as this?... His formidable mastery is lightly worn, and he exudes an invigorating sense of freedom, though not a single technical imperfection mars this recording (he was co-producer). From the first chords of 'Canto Primo', unrestrained, glistening, we know we're in safe hands; his 'Lamento' has piercing power with a compelling sense of line... A 5-star performance.'

BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Choice / Delphian Solo Britten Suites  April 2013

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Instrumental Disc of the month
2013-03-01 Gramophone Magazine, Delphian Britten Solo Cello Suites
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Instrumental disc of the month Gramophone Magazine

….it is Higham's expansive but tender playing that pulls this music as far away from slapdash as it is possible to be.  He apprehends the complicated and multifarious elements of a set of pieces that seek to pay homage to Bach….There is no doubting the plain virtuosity of these works, too, and despite his appreciation of their contextual importance, Higham still manages to revel in the glorious sound they invite the cello to make, playing around with its warmth of colours to bring out with glorious inevitability the Bach and Shostakovich hidden theirin.

The Gramophone  Britten Solo Cello Suites Dephian  March 2013

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