Photo by Mark Latham
Phillips (b. 1951) is a composer and guitarist who is known as a prolific writer of
music for film and television as well as a recording artist. He was a
alongside Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks
of the band Genesis with whom he recorded the albums From
Genesis To Revelation and Trespass. After
leaving the group in 1970, Ant studied orchestration and harmony externally at the
Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. After passing his
LGSM exams, he taught music at Reeds School and Peper Harrow whilst
continuing to compose and record in his home studio.
Ant marked his return to the commercial music scene with the release of his debut solo album The Geese & The Ghost in 1977 and since then has created a large and diverse output as a recording artist. As well as album releases such as Wise After The Event, Sides, Slow Dance and Field Day, he has to date also released eleven albums in the Private Parts & Pieces series and four volumes in the Missing Links series. Amongst other projects, he collaborated with Harry Williamson on the large-scale instrumental work Tarka and he also co-wrote the stage musical Alice with Richard Scott.
Ant continues to release solo albums to critical acclaim, increasingly his
music has also been much in-demand for film and television.
Commissions have included scores for both dramas and documentaries and he
has written and recorded music for over a dozen Survival programmes
in collaboration with percussion virtuoso Joji Hirota, including the
award-winning Land of Dragons and Creatures of the Magic Water.
Ant has also established himself as one of the most prolific and successful composers of library music, with tracks from his extensive output being regularly featured on commercials, films and television series throughout the world.
2014 saw Ant renewing his association with Cherry Red Records via the Esoteric Recordings label who are re-issuing his back catalogue. Harvest of the Heart, a five CD deluxe box set anthology which celebrates Ant's rich musical heritage by featuring recordings made between 1969 and the present day was released in November 2014 to wide-spread acclaim. Subsequent re-releases have included the Definitive Edition of Ant's debut solo album The Geese & The Ghost (a three disc set which includes a stunning 5.1 surround sound mix of the album), Private Parts & Pieces I - IV (a deluxe clamshell box set of the first four albums in that series) and deluxe editions of the albums Wise After The Event, Sides and 1984 all of which feature new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes.
The quality and impact of the Esoteric reissues was confirmed when the series won the Storm Thorgerson Grand Design Award at the Progressive Music Awards in September 2016. Further releases in the series have included Private Parts & Pieces V - VIII and Private Parts & Pieces IX - XI (deluxe clamshell box sets of the other albums in that series), a deluxe edition of the instrumental album Slow Dance (which features a new 5.1 surround sound mix) and an expanded edition of the song-based release Invisible Men. Further reissues have included the 2005 acoustic album Field Day and Seventh Heaven, the 2012 collaboration between Ant and composer/orchestrator Andrew Skeet (which features a collection of acoustic and orchestral portraits) with both titles including a new 5.1 surround sound mix of the respective albums.
The most recent titles in the reissue series are Missing Links I - IV (which brings together the four albums in the series of the same name together with Extra Missing Links, a 27 track CD of rare and previously unreleased material) and Archive Collection Volumes I & II (which includes an additional CD of the previously unreleased Masquerade Tapes). An expanded two disc edition of Wildlife, which showcases Ant's collaborations with percussionist and flautist Joji Hirota, is the latest addition to the Esoteric releases.
January 2018 saw the world premiere performances of Ant's composition Gemini for two pianos by the internationally renowned soloist Martha Argerich with pianist Gabriele Baldocci. The piece, which is dedicated to Martha, was developed into a duet by Ant in collaboration with Gabriele and was performed at concerts in Valencia and Barcelona.
October 2019 saw the release of Ant's first new album in seven years. Strings of Light is an instrumental guitar album which features twenty-four pieces spanning two CDs utilising the many beautiful and rare guitars in Ant's collection. After a seven year absence of new recorded work, Strings of Light is a welcome return and a fine addition to his extensive body of work.