Margaret Phillips

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Margaret Phillips is best known for her performances and recordings of the organ works of J.S. Bach. She has also played much other Baroque music, including works by Monteverdi, Buxtehude, and the little-known…
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Margaret Phillips is best known for her performances and recordings of the organ works of J.S. Bach. She has also played much other Baroque music, including works by Monteverdi, Buxtehude, and the little-known English composer John Stanley. Phillips' repertory extends well beyond Baroque-era fare though, taking in works by Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, John Stainer, and Frank Martin. Phillips has also played harpsichord continuo in such groups as the London Mozart Players and has served as organ accompanist for the BBC Singers and the Sixteen. She has appeared as an organ soloist and recitalist throughout England, Europe, Australia, the U.S., and Mexico, and appeared on BBC and European radio broadcasts. Phillips has also held several prestigious teaching posts, including at the Royal College of Music in London, and she regularly conducts master classes both in England and across Europe. Phillips has made well over a dozen recordings, spread over several labels including Regent, CRC, Chandos, Coro, Hyperion, and York Ambisonic.

Margaret Phillips was born in Exeter, Devon, England, on November 16, 1950. From 1968-1972 she studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Ralph Downes, and from 1972-1973 she took organ lessons privately from Marie-Claire Alain in Paris.

From 1972, when she gave her official debut at London's Royal Festival Hall, Phillips steadily built her career, freelancing as a soloist and working with the London Mozart Players and other (mostly vocal) ensembles. From 1976-1985 she served as music director at London's St. Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall. Other important posts followed: she was organ professor at the London College of Music from 1985-1991, and since 1996 has been organ professor at the Royal College of Music. She also co-founded the English Organ School and Museum at Milbourne Port, Somerset, England, in 1994.

Throughout the latter decades of the 20th century, Phillips remained busy as an organ soloist, as well, carrying a fairly heavy schedule of concerts at home and abroad. Her first major recording, a CD of organ music by Saint-Saëns, was issued in 1990 on the York Ambisonic label.

Her first J.S. Bach recording, The Young Bach, was issued to critical acclaim by Regent in 2001. Phillips launched a series of J.S. Bach organ works for the same label in 2007. Four volumes were available by 2010, the series including such works as the Orgelbüchlein (BWV 599-644), Schübler Chorales, and various chorale preludes, partitas, and other works.