After twenty-five years spent as a professional violinist, Phyllis Saunders has found new stimulation, creative outlet, vigorous daily challenges, and lots of laughs in the field of public school music education. In Boise, Idaho, where she lives with her husband, David Saunders and her two sons Jacob and Jonathan, Phyllis directs two high school orchestras and four junior high orchestras, and maintains a small private studio of highly motivated students.
Ms. Saunders has a Master’s Degree in violin performance from the School of the Arts at Boston University where she studied with Joseph Silverstein. Other teachers include William Preucil Jr., Joseph Gingold, and Raphael Druian.
Prior to settling in Boise, Ms. Saunders’ professional life took her across the United States, and included long tenures in the symphony orchestras of San Diego, Nashville, and Albany New York, respectively. In her Nashville years, Phyllis was an active studio musician, performing with the Nashville String Machine on many award-winning country albums for artists such as Glenn Campbell, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, Willy Nelson and the Oak Ridge Boys. (Royalties for The movie Best Little Whorehouse continued for years!) Thanks to those vinyl products, Phyllis was able to purchase her violin, a 1696 Giovanni Grancino of Milan.
Other professional positions Ms. Saunders has held include acting concertmaster of the Vermont Symphony, concertmaster of the Woodstock and St. Cecelia Chamber Orchestras in New York State, and member of the Saratoga Chamber Players. Rounding out her professional migration across America, Phyllis also spent a number of years in Cleveland, Ohio, performing with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, The Cleveland Opera Orchestra, and the Playhouse Square Theater orchestra.
Settling finally in Boise, Ms. Saunders continues to perform regularly as a member of the Boise Philharmonic, and in local venues as a chamber musician. Her spirit is happy in the Northwest, especially since she has been fortunate to be able to spend her summers, since 1984, performing with beloved friends in the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, the place where she met her husband, reared her two boys, and feels at home.