Born in London in 1951, Philip Sawyers studied at Dartington College of Arts in Devon, violin with Colin Sauer, and composition with Helen Glatz (a pupil of Vaughan Williams and Bartok). Whilst at the Guildhall School of Music in London, he studied violin with Joan Spencer and Max Rostal, with guidance from composers Buxton Orr, Patric Standford and Edmund Rubbra.
In 1973, Sawyers joined the Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden. During this period he also freelanced with other orchestras and chamber groups including the London Symphony Orchestra, the English National Opera Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, some West End theatre orchestras and in film, pop, and light music sessions. Time was also taken up with composition for various commissions and the development of a teaching and coaching practice, principally as a violin coach for the Kent County Youth Orchestra, and as visiting teacher at various educational establishments.
In 1997, he decided to opt for a quieter life, left the ROH, and undertook a year of postgraduate study at Goldsmith’s College, University of London. He now works as a freelance violinist, composer, teacher, adjudicator, and as an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.