The esteemed English recorder player, conductor and teacher, Philip Pickett, began his musical career as a trumpet player; his interest in the high trumpet parts of Bach and other Baroque composers was fostered by Anthony Baines and David Munrow, who introduced him to all the families of early wind instruments. This led him to take up the recorder, crumhorn, shawm, rackett etc, and he quickly became well-known as Britain's leading advocate of such instruments.
As a student at the Guildhall School of Music Philip Pickett was awarded the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, the Maisie Lewis Foundation Award and the Wedgewood Award. In 1972 he was appointed Professor of Recorder and Historical Performance at the Guildhall School, and for twenty-five years played a leading role in the School's Early Music Department, training many of the most gifted of the later generations of early music specialists. Many of these talented artists have become regular members of Picket's ensembles - New London Consort and Musicians of the Globe. He was honoured with a Fellowship of the School in 1985.
In mid 1980's Philip Pickett founded the New London Consort (= NLC) and has continued to be their Musical Director ever since. With the New London Consort, he has performed in some of the most prestigious festivals and concert halls in the world and recorded more than 40 CDs for Decca, including Monteverdi L’Orfeo, Vespers 1610, Il Ballo delle Ingrate and Il Combattimento di Tancredi. In June 2005 he directed the New London Consort in performances of J.S. Bach’s Johannes-Passion (BWV 245) at the Israel Festival Jerusalem.
One of today's most eminent advocates of period performance, he has also recently embarked on a flourishing new career as guest conductor, directing symphony orchestras and opera companies in Classical, Romantic and Baroque repertoire. He has performed and recorded as soloist with many leading ensembles, among them the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Polish Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia, London Chamber Orchestra, London Bach Orchestra and The English Concert. His solo recordings include all the George Frideric Handel recorder sonatas and trio sonatas, virtuoso sonatas by 17th and 18th century Italian composers and concertos by Antonio Vivaldi and Georg Philipp Telemann.
Philip Pickett's constant search for new ways of presenting early music has led him to introduce theatrical elements into concerts; present early lyrics in modern English translations; combine music with dance and mime; preface concerts with foyer entertainments including juggling, fire-eating, magic, minstrels and dancing bears; and juxtapose earlier music with contemporary and ethnic music.
Philip Pickett's success in the planning of major thematic concert series for the City of London Festival (1982/4/9) and the 1983 Maastricht Festival, together with the continuing enthusiasm among concert-goers and the press for his Extravaganzas and large-scale concerts in the major London concert halls led to his being appointed artistic director of London's Southbank Summerscope Festival of Medieval and Rennaisance Music in 1988 s Pageant) - 32 concerts in two weeks, received with unanimous critical acclaim.
In 1993 Philip Pickett began a new appointment as artistic director of the Purcell Room Early Music Series. Also in 1993 came the appointment as Director of Early Music at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the formation of the Musicians of the Globe (= MoG). As well as touring world-wide, Philip Pickett and the Musicians of the Globe have recorded an acclaimed series of CDs of English theatre music for Philips Classics. From 1994 to 1997 he was founder and director of the Aldeburgh Early Music Festival, and in 1996 he was appointed artistic director of the new September Early Music Festival at the South Bank Centre. He continued to serve as artistic director of the Festival until 2003.
Publications an article on programmes and audiences (Hard-sell scholarship and silly titles) for the Dent Companion to Medieval and Renaissance Music; an article on the performance of medieval music for Medieval World; a discussion of Baroque symbolism and rhetorical practice for BBC Music magazine; privately published studies of the Carmina Burana, Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and the Brandenburg Concertos; and an endless serum of acclaimed programme notes for New London Consort and MoG concerts and recordings. In December 1993 he read a paper on Monteverdi's orchestration at the International Monteverdi Conference in London.