Biography of Musica Bella Orchestra member Phillip Gaskill

Phillip Gaskill (left, June 2002; right, oh, a couple of years earlier), music director, conductor, and, rarely these days, cellist, studied cello with David Levinson, Pasquale Ficarra, James Stroud, Gordon Epperson, and Boleslaw Zukowski, and conducting with Donald McGinnis (and every other conductor he’s ever seen...). He has been a member of, among others, the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra; the U.S. Air Force Band and Orchestra, Washington, D.C. (principal cellist); the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Seattle; Orchestra Seattle* (co-founder, principal cellist, and assistant conductor); the Lawyers’ Orchestra, New York (principal cellist); the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, New York (principal cellist and assistant conductor); and the Doctors’ Orchestra, New York. He is the former music director and conductor of the Skid Road Theatre, Seattle. He was a co-founder of the Bozarks Trio, Seattle (with Tom Dziekonski, violin, and George Shangrow, piano), and the founder of the Gramercy String Quartet, New York (with Linda Chang Kim and Jeffrey Parry, violins, and Jane Ann Lockwood, viola).
      As a cellist, he has performed the Tchaikovsy Rococo Variations, the Haydn D-Major Concerto, the Brahms Double Concerto, and the Dvorak Concerto with orchestra. He has also performed in public on the bass viola da gamba, five-string cello, four-string (tenor) banjo, five-string (bluegrass) banjo, timpani, and miscellaneous other percussion instruments, and as the organ pumper for a small Renaissance organ with his sister’s group in Seattle, the Western Wynde Ensemble. And probably more, but he forgets.
      He is possibly one of the few people alive to have been kissed (well, okay, on the cheek) by Jacqueline du Pre, Roberta Peters, and Midori — AND to have played Jackie’s cello. (We formerly had a link here to the Web site of the fella who plays that cello nowadays, but that site has just become one of those very annoying sites that doesn’t know what the “Back” button means, so we’ve deleted the link. The answer is Yo-Yo Ma. His Web site might be annoying, but HE certainly isn’t: if Jackie wasn’t the greatest cellist in history, then he is.) And ask him (Mr. Gaskill, that is, not Mr. Ma) to tell you his Van Cliburn story sometime.
      He pays the rent by being an editor and proofreader of books, an occasional computer typesetter/layout artist, and an even more occasional author/technical editor of computer books and articles.

*Several people have been confused by this. In the interests of truth in advertising, it should be pointed out that this is not the same as the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (which he was invited to audition for, in fact, but—well, that’s a long story); rather, it is a very good semi-pro orchestra now bearing the name listed above, formerly named the Broadway Chamber Symphony and still conducted by its founder, the amazing and peripatetic George Shangrow.