Phamie Gow studied with concert pianist and composer, Ronald Stevenson before completing a degree at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) in Glasgow, Scotland. Stevenson, friend of Schostokovich and expert on Busoni was crucial to the development of Gow as a pianist and composer.
Phamie Gow’s love of nature, her interests in poetry, art and the visual world around her, an appreciation of the lyrical and poetic, her sense of history and place, all thread through her work. Compositions can be simple yet profound, possess both dignity and innocence, show strength and fragility but are always melodic and memorable. Gow creates atmospheres and paints pictures in your mind and has variously been described as conveying ‘an atmospheric balance between spontaneous feeling and stately gravitas; music which is ‘haunting’ and ‘a clearly defined musical palette that’s intelligently and sparingly used’.
While still a student Phamie performed in a solo concert in the Main Auditorium of the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow opening for the poet, Seamus Heaney. By the age of 19, she had released two albums, ‘Winged Spirit’ and ‘Lammermuir’ where her compositional skills came to the fore and she gained recognition as a composer comparable to Richard Rodney Bennet and Benjamin Britten, the comparison only emphasizing the maturity of her work. ‘Lammermuir’ was described as ‘an album of extraordinary beauty and grace’ by Robert Weir of Sing Out Corporation.
Although the piano is her first instrument, her ability to write and play athletically demanding pieces for the lever harp resulted in her being described as a virtuoso on that instrument. She is considered as contributing a whole new repertoire for the lever harp with revolutionary techniques demanding of the highest skills. She has conducted masterclasses on the harp at Le Conservatoires de Claude Debussy in France and is a visiting teacher of piano at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
Phamie Gow’s reputation as being a captivating and entertaining performer has taken her all over Europe, to Canada, America, Latin America and China. She performed for the Dalai Lama on his visit to Britain and was presented with a prayer shawl by His Holiness after she played her ‘Stone Dance of the Chameleon’. She was invited by the celebrated pianist and composer Philip Glass to perform in The Carnegie Hall, New York City. Phamie performed centre stage her self penned composition “Dancing Hands” with a Lyon and Healy electric Harp (Chicago), and with the Patti Smith backing band accompanying her. She has also performed with renowned and diverse artists such as Philip Glass, Ray Davies (Kinks) Alan Stivell (France) Vincenzo Zitello (Italy) Bajaly Suso (Gambia, Africa) Sukhvinder Singh (Indian tabla guru) Eric Rigler (uillean pipes- Titanic, Braveheart) and Davey Spilane (Riverdance) Ashely McIsaac and Band of Horses.
Phamie Gow’s albums Lammermuir (2000) composed when she was 19 and her first solo piano album Moments of Time (2008) were both featured on Radio 3 Late Junction. Tracks from Moments of Time have received extensive airplay on Classic FM who described her in 2008 as being ‘ a definite rising British star’. Her composition ‘War Song’ was chosen for release by Universal UK Classic FM Smooth Classics – The Ultimate Collection and was subsequently chosen for the Decca Universal album, Ultimate Piano. Her latest solo piano album Road of the Loving Heart is due to be released in May 2011.
Philip Glass described it as ‘spontaneous and well crafted – a winning combination, and full of melody and surprise’ and Nigel Gayler of Classic FM said ” Composer and multi-talented musician Phamie Gow has released another sure-fire hit for her many fans with Road of the Loving Heart. Her uniquely reflective piano music is once again in evidence; from the mesmerising ‘Carousel’ to the serene ‘ London’, a perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of our capital city’s impending Olympics”.
Phamie Gow has recently completed recording and co-producing with Steve McLauchlin her latest commission ‘The Edinburgh Suite’. This was recorded at London’s Metropolis Studios with the London Metropolitan Orchestra (LMO) and the Classical Brit Award Winners, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. In this composition Phamie Gow has written for a wide range of orchestral instruments including 23 strings, 5 violas, 4 celli, 2 double basses with a brass section of 2 French horns, 2 trumpets, tenor trombone and bass trombone. Woodwind involved were flute, oboe and clarinet with acoustic and electric guitars. The Pipes and Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards complete the sound of 40 instruments. ‘The Edinburgh Suite’ is to be released on album in summer 2011.