The Scotsman Sessions #206: Philip Higham

Welcome to the award-winning Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on, with introductions from our critics. Here, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s principal cellist Philip Higham takes a break from his cello to perform Schubert’s Moment musical No. 3 on piano

Edinburgh-based Philip Higham is the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s principal cellist, and a noted soloist in his own right. He’s chosen, however, to make his contribution to the Scotsman Sessions but on the piano. “As a snapshot of what I’ve been doing in lockdown, I decided I’d play my second instrument rather than my first,” he explains. “I practised piano a lot when I was young, but it wasn’t until about three years ago that we had the good fortune to come by a 1900 Broadwood baby grand. During the last year, I’ve found myself wanting to play more and more, either for myself or for my children. I’m sure what I’ve recorded isn’t great piano playing, but it’s an example of great enjoyment, and of hopefully a good musician enjoying another medium.”

The piece he’s chosen – Schubert’s Moment musical No. 3 – also holds a particular significance for him in our current times. “It’s exactly that – a musical moment. I love Schubert, and I find that even in a miniature like this, which might seem on the trivial side, he’s got a lot of integrity and presence.”

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Though perhaps not quite as busy as in previous years, Higham has kept active during the pandemic, recording a recital with pianist Susan Tomes as part of the Edinburgh International Festival’s My Light Shines On chamber concerts, as well as several online performances with the SCO.

"I count myself extremely fortunate to have been busy with musical projects more or less every week since August,” he says, “which is not a privilege enjoyed by every musician at the moment. But it’s been a blessing having two young children, too, and the whole rhythm of family life has made the experience of the last 12 months so enriching in many ways. It’s been about discovering the value in all aspects of home life, making the rhythm as satisfying as you can, and finding joy and meaning in small things.”

For more on Philip Higham, visit

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