Pippa Macmillan

double bass, violone, viola da gamba

Pippa Macmillan is a renowned specialist of historical bass instruments. She has held the position of principal double bass with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto since 2019. She holds degrees in Historical Performance from the Royal Academy of Music (London), and The Juilliard School (NYC). Following her studies, she was appointed Professor of Baroque Double Bass at the Royal College of Music (London) in 2015, a position she held until she moved to Toronto.

Pippa performs regularly with the English Concert, including at Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall. She has played at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the BBC Proms with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, as well as with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, English Baroque Soloists, Academy of Ancient Music, and Florilegium. She has appeared as guest principal with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston. In 2015 she appeared in London's West End, in the Globe Theatre's production of Farinelli and the King, and subsequently on Broadway when the play transferred there in 2017.

Pippa is a trained Suzuki teacher on double bass, cello and piano, and has taught and accompanied at a number of Suzuki courses in the UK. Her students are regularly members of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain, and former students have gone on to study at the Royal College of Music’s Junior Department, or be members of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Pippa teaches children according to the Suzuki approach. She holds the Diploma of the European Suzuki Association for cello teaching, and she is also a Level 2 Suzuki double bass teacher and a Level 1 Suzuki piano teacher.

The approach was devised by Dr Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998) who established the principle that all children are able to learn to play a musical instrument in the same way that they all learn to speak their own language. With parental support, children can start learning the cello or piano around the age of 3 or 4. Aspiring double bass players have to wait until they are 7 or so, although starting another instrument such as piano first is beneficial. Parents attend lessons and make notes so that they can practice with their child at home. Pupils keep up old repertoire and constantly work at musicality in well-known pieces. They arrive early or stay on after their lesson so that they can observe another child’s lesson, and as well as weekly individual lessons they have regular group lessons, working on skills such as ensemble and co-operation, and they provide an opportunity for social interaction with other pupils creating a motivating atmosphere. They are also great fun, with many games being played. Pippa is a big fan of Music Mind Games for teaching children to read music, and incorporates these into both individual and group lessons.

Dittersdorf: Concerto for double bass - Pippa Macmillan, soloist | Tafelmusik

J.S. Bach: L'art de la fugue - Les Voix Humaines

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique - Roger Norrington, OAE (2nd Mvt)

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