Folsom Funeral Service
87 Milton St
Dedham, MA 02026
(781) 326-0022
More Obituaries for ELLIS PHILLIPS
Looking for an obituary for a different person with this name?


PHILLIPS, Ellis Laurimore III "Larry" Harpsichordist And Organist, Composer, Music Critic, And Philanthropist Ellis Laurimore III "Larry" Phillips, 70, of Boston, died peacefully at Tufts Medical Center on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, from complications of Type 1 diabetes. He was a harpsichordist and organist, composer, music critic, and philanthropist. A memorial service celebrating Larry's life will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 1PM at the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street. Larry Phillips' professional music career spanned over four decades. Larry entered the international music competition world winning the John Robb Organ Competition in 1972 from the Royal Canadian College of Organists and the International Harpsichord Competition in Brughes, Belgium in 1974. Early recognition led to signing with music agent Albert Kay Associates in New York City, who represented him from 1976-2002. He performed nationally as an organist and harpsichordist, making a valuable contribution to the Early Music revival of the 1970s with many solo performances including the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, and the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra. In the 1970s, Larry Phillips was a founding member of the musical trio, Quantz, an Early Music and Baroque ensemble. He was Artistic Director and founder of the Festival Music Players, a Boston-area chamber music sponsoring organization. Larry Phillips composed the motet, "All Shall be Well" for the Commemoration of the 700th anniversary of the foundation of Saint Botolph's Church, Boston, Lincolnshire by HRH Princess Anne in 2008. Three of Larry Phillips' hymns were published in the Unitarian Universalist Hymnbook, Singing The Living Tradition including "O Liberating Rose" which receives continued popularity among choral groups throughout Unitarian Universalist congregations. Larry Phillips was the Music Director for the First Parish Church, Waltham, MA, from 1982-2002, where he was church organist and much beloved choir director. Larry served as the co-founder and director of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network and an editor of the Signature Choral Series, published through the Unitarian Universalist Association. He was among the first to use digital music editing giving workshops at the UUMN annual conferences. He was a member of the group engaged to research, evaluate, and edit The Unitarian Universalist Association Hymn Book. Larry Phillips' music and philanthropy overlapped in many ways. At New England Conservatory of Music Larry served on the Board of Trustees (1993-2002), was President of the Alumni Association (1986-1990), an Overseer (2002-2008), and Lifetime Overseer from 2008. New England Conservatory of Music awarded him the Florence A. Dunn Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in 2010. The son of Ellis L. Phillips, Jr. and Marion E. Grumman, Larry was born in Rosyln Heights, New York. He attended the Green Vale School. His family moved to London in 1957 when his father was appointed Special Assistant to Ambassador John Hay Whitney. While in England, Larry attended the Eaton House School, London where he excelled in track and field competitions. Returning to the United States, Larry prepared at Deerfield Academy, class of 1966, where his talents as a musician and editor were recognized early. He was the managing editor of the Deerfield Scroll. He often recalled how Deerfield recognized and supported his desire to study music by one day quietly presenting him with the keys to the chapel so he could practice the organ. Ellis L. Phillips III's grandfathers were Ellis L. Phillips and Leroy Grumman. Larry's career in music departed from his family's contributions in electrical engineering and aviation. A biography published during his musical touring days notes that he was acutely aware that a career in music would be a dramatic change from following one of the family legacies. Larry graduated from Harvard University, class of 1970, where he earned his AB cum laude majoring in French while concurrently studying music at the Longy School of Music. As an undergraduate he studied music with Luise Vosgerchian. He earned advanced degrees in music from the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal where he studied organ with Bernard Lagace earning the Certificat D'Etudes en Disciplines Théoriques. In 1975 he completed a Master of Music from New England Conservatory of Music, concentrating in harpsichord performance. In 1992, Larry became the third president of the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation. Through the foundation and his own personal engagement he contributed much to his local and national community specifically supporting the arts and music. Living with Type 1 juvenile diabetes, Larry Phillips was proud to have received the Joslin Diabetes Center 50 year survivor metal in 2010. Eventually the struggle with diabetes brought his performing career to an end, opening the door for him to become a music critic for the Boston Musical Intelligencer, from 2008 until 2012. Larry was a founding member of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in 1996 and served as its Chairman and then Chairman Emeritus. He was a founding member of the Partnership of the Historic Bostons and served on the board of trustees with several terms as vice-president, from 2001-2018. A quiet and effective advocate for LGBT rights, Larry was one of the signers of the petition to Harvard University in 1984 that changed the university's antidiscrimination clause to include sexual orientation, making Harvard the first university in the country to take this step. He was a founding member of the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus and was on the Board of the Open Gate. In 1987, Larry recruited his friend Richard Schneider to edit The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Newsletter, which gave rise to the bimonthly national magazine The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. Beloved husband and partner for 31 years of artist David Lloyd Brown of Boston, Larry also leaves behind his sisters Valerie P. Parsegian and her husband V. Adrian Parsegian of Amherst, MA; Elise P. Watts and her husband Edward E. Watts III of Dedham, MA; Kathryn Noel Phillips of Hudson, NY; and Cynthia L. Phillips of Rhinebeck, NY; and his uncle David Leroy Grumman of Chicago, IL. He is survived by 9 nieces and nephews and their children. Donations may be made in Larry's name to the Tufts Medical Center Development Office, 800 Washington Street, #231, Boston MA 02111, or online at https://giving.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/give, and the Joslin Diabetes Center, 1 Joslyn Place, Suite 745, Boston, MA 02215 or online at https://www.joslin.org/giving/memorial_gifts.html. For obituary and guestbook, please visit website. Folsom Funeral Service www.folsomfuneral.com

View the online memorial for Ellis Laurimore III "Larry" PHILLIPS
Published in The Boston Globe on Nov. 18, 2018
Read More
Give others a chance to express condolences. Not right now.
Inform family & friends of ELLIS's passing.
Planning Guide
Planning ahead makes a big difference. Get Legacy's free funeral guide and know your advance options.