Ruth Phillips

baroque & modern cellist | yogi | meditator | writer

“The most efficient cello practice I have done has been on my yoga mat, my meditation cushion and my djembe, in the swimming pool and by the ocean.”

“I feel ‘unlocked’.”
Alex, professional cellist, New York, USA

Alongside her rich and diverse career as a cellist, Ruth Phillips is internationally sought after as a performance coach and stringed instrument teacher, helping people who suffer from tension, stage fright or lack of focus overcome the physical and mental strains of the music profession. Ruth is a trained therapist, holding a Masters’ degree in Voice Movement Therapy. She studied yoga with Peter Blackaby for many years, has completed three modules of the Non-Violent-Communication training with Muriel Kalfala, and several mindfulness meditation trainings with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, with whom she hopes to qualify as an accredited teacher through the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley in 2023. In her work she draws on these disciplines and her own musical experience, which includes not only modern and baroque cello but also African drumming, Indian, and folk music, to create a stimulating, empathetic and, above all, safe environment in which to explore the elements that are holding musicians back from reaching their full potential.

“As a member of the InsideOut Musician community, I am committed in all my sessions to serving the whole musician with compassion, playfulness and deep listening.”

Ruth’s website: The Breathing Bow

Read more about Ruth

“Ruth is an inspirational teacher and combines clear, direct delivery with innovative ways to feel the relationship between the bow, pulse, and the breath.”
Alison Wells, professor of cello, Glasgow Conservatoire

Over the last ten years Ruth has given Breathing Bow workshops in California, France and the UK, at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Royal Glasgow Conservatoire and for the European String Teachers’Association and the London Cello Society. She teaches on the master-course for musicians’ well-being, The Exhale, alongside Gwendolyn Masin. Her clients include students and graduates from Stony Brook University, Julliard School, Royal Academy of Music, Paris Conservatoire, Royal Northern College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music, and members of the Hallé, Oakland Symphony, San Fransisco Opera and Philharmonia Orchestras.

Ruth believes that not only do we not have to suffer from stage fright, but that we can learn to relax with our instruments and enjoy playing. Her approach is human, playful and organic and her aim is always to address the whole person.
As a result of this, many leave her sessions feeling more at ease not just on their their instruments, but in their lives.

As a cellist Ruth studied with Johannes Goritzki and Timothy Eddy, gaining her Masters’ degree from Stony Brook University. She played for ten years with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and was a member of Glyndebourne Touring and Garsington Opera Orchestras. On original instruments she has played with the Concert d’Astree, Les Musiciens du Louvre, and as principal cellist with Les Siecles and Opera Fuoco. She has played under many of the great conductors such as Claudio Abbado and Nicholas Harnoncourt. She is active as a chamber musician, having performed with Steven Isserlis and Sandor Vegh amongst others. With her string trio, Trio Mythos, she is collaborating with the folk duo, Brothers Gillespie and Occitane polyphonic trio, Tant Que Li Siam. In 2021 she will tour India in duo with the Indian cellist, Saskia Rao in a programme entitled From Bach to Bhupali.

Ruth’s articles on stage fright, music, mindfulness and yoga have appeared in the Strad, BBC Music and European String Teachers’ Association magazines. She has appeared on the Music Mind and Movement and Thoroughly Good Classical Music podcasts and on Paul Katz’ CelloBello blog. Her memoir, Cherries from Chauvet’s Orchard, was shortlisted for the Guardian Women’s Memoir award.


“Ruth’s approach is organic and natural; relevant and adaptable to all string players. There is no need to have to ‘put on’ a performance as she shows you to feel the honesty and beauty of music in its own right – the last thing it needs is us getting in the way!”
Ellie, viola student RAM, London, UK

“Imagine a meditation given by a world class cellist. Ruth helped me get out of my head and reconnect with my body like no one has before. Keenly perceptive, she is a consummate coach. She doesn’t impose her interpretation or even her method. She simply takes what you’ve got and makes it much, much better.”
Robert, professional cellist, San Fransisco

“Ruth demonstrates how we can use the natural movement of the body to achieve an authentic, honest and free musical line without the need to micromanage every note.”
Jane, amateur cellist, Switzerland

“I’ve worked with therapeutic groups for years but never seen a group so quickly forming into a deeply connected whole.  Our struggles came up, were heard respectfully, and reflected upon with insight and compassion.”
Hugh, amateur cellist and NHS psychiatrist

Watch Ruth talk about her teaching style
Contact Ruth
Ruth Phillips portrait

“I feel like a new person!”

Millie, professional violinist, UK

“When the moment came to perform … it almost felt like a meditation.”

Lucy, professional gamba player, UK

“Wonderfully freeing.”

Alison Wells, professor of cello, Glasgow Conservatoire

“A profoundly transformative experience … a revelation.”

Tristram, amateur cellist, UK

“The back pain I used to get has completely gone.”

Lucy, professional cellist, Australia

Individual Tuition

For cellists. Also open to all string players
Ruth Phillips playing cello

Individual one to one or a package of six individual coaching sessions are available with Ruth through her website, 
The Breathing Bow.

Ruth's Courses for Groups