Philip Sheppard Keynote Speaker

‘…what you do is awesome…’ Vint Cerf – VP Google


An audience favorite.

Virtuoso cellist, composer, smasher of norms and herder of cats.

Acclaimed innovation conference C2 once declared, “Fitting Philip Sheppard’s accomplishments into 100 words is a bit like trying to squeeze his cello into a violin case.”


Named one of the world’s top creatives in 2015, Philip Sheppard is a virtuoso cellist honored by the Royal Academy of Music for lifetime achievement.

He has composed dozens of soundtracks for award-winning films, produced large and complex global events and invented a game the Wall Street Journal touted on page 1. His lifelong adventures in music and its intersections with technology, creativity and introspection yield stories and ideas both mind-blowing and relatable.  

And his cello playing will leave you breathless.  

Often voted best speaker, his use of group games and exercises to instantly produce fully-fledged compositions remains a perennial favorite.

“Philip is a one of a kind performer and speaker. His presence on stage is truly magnetic, engaging the audience with his deep knowledge, incredible mastery of the cello and rich personality. C2MTL was voted number 1 Innovation Conference of the year in 2014 and Philip was voted by the 3,000 attendees as the most inspiring speaker of the event.

—  Will Travis, President, Sid Lee USA

“Philip gave us the most amusing and emotionally exhilarating conference experience we have ever had the pleasure of sharing with our audience. He’s one of a kind.”

— Tony Shaw, CEO, Dataversity

“He’s insightful, exuberant, infectious — and unique. Engaging for any audience, but especially those concerned with technology, teamwork and the future.”

— Mike Hawley, The E.G. Conference,

“I’ve curated a summit of exceptional global innovators for 12 years, and I’ve been to many other global conferences.  Philip Sheppard is one of the best speakers I’ve ever seen.  He engages, educates, and entertains.  Philip takes you on a journey, makes you laugh, and makes you think and re-think.  He is  an exceptional human being with a passion for sharing knowledge.”

— Yarrow Kraner, Hatch

“When Philip plays, he ignites something in us, makes us connect to an original piece of music that is so engaging, so emotionally charged it shakes us to the core. He has changed my perception on just how powerful of a force music can be and every encounter becomes a new learning opportunity for me”.

— Chloe Langevin, VP Partnerships C2MTL

“Man you play a fat cello.”

Anthony Keidis, Red Hot Chilli Peppers

“What you do is awesome…”

— Vint Cerf, VP Google


Awards, Accolades & Achievements

  • Producer, Olympic Games (2008 & 2012), Tour de France, Rugby World Cup, Cirque du Soleil
  • One of Origin Magazine’s “Top 100 Creatives in the U.S.”
  • Speaker, Computer History Museum’s Revolutionaries, an acclaimed speaker series featuring Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and other renowned innovators, business and technology leaders and authors
  • Featured on page 1 of the Wall Street Journal for his music game, Compose Yourself
  • Winner, BBC’s Music Production of the Year
  • Composer of 30 award-winning film soundtracks & Star Wars trailer
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Royal Academy of Music

    Philip Sheppard at C2MTL

Speaking Style

Philip is playful, informal, witty and clever. He uses his musical performances, game-based techniques and engaging imagery to connect meaningfully with his audiences and leave them laughing, cheering and marveling at new insights.

As a closing speaker, he can summarise a whole conference in musical form, completely on-the-fly.

Philip Sheppard Sample Keynote Topics

Your Next Great Idea is Already in this Room

Visualizing Your Success – A Bucket List for your Business

The Magic of the 3-Week Deadline

The Power of Restricted Creativity

Be a Producer and not a Consumer

Ancient + New = Cutting Edge

Strong but Wrong: Mistakes Make You Better

Being Bold

Chasing Goosebumps

The Art of Being Random and How to Rock It

The Parallels Between Music and Technology

You are Musical – Game-Based Approach to Creativity

A Guide for Living with Intent

Conducting Business – A Lesson from Abbey Road

Today you’re Composing your First Symphony


Philip3yrsOldPhilip’s fascination with music began at age 3 when he was found to have perfect pitch.  Naturally, his response was to play the largest and heaviest instrument he could handle: the cello.  By the age of 10, he was touring the U.S., and at 17, he was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where he trained in cello and composition, and later became Professor.  Today, he is known as one of the world’s foremost cellists and in-demand soundtrack composers.

Perhaps because he was encouraged to play the cello at such a young age, Philip has always approached music as play, viewing notes as “liquid architecture” to spur different sounds, emotion and visual constructs. This unorthodox approach to composition has resulted in more than 30 film, television and theatrical scores as well as the invention of Compose Yourself, a top-selling, award-winning children’s music game that the Wall Street Journal touted above the fold.

A popular speaker at education and innovation conferences around the globe such as C2MTL, The EG, and TTI Vanguard, Philip delivers rousing keynotes about the intersection of music and data, innate musical ability within all of us, and other topics that connect music to creativity, tech and introspection.  Often voted best speaker, his use of group games and exercises to instantly produce fully-fledged compositions remains a perennial favorite.

Sheppard and Raoni –  COP21 Summit

Philip’s collaborations reflect the diversity in his musical interests and personal passions.  Recently, his work in a Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer made his bucket list a little lighter and his latest project brought him to the base of the Eiffel Tower where he opened the Paris Global Climate Summit with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Amazonian Chief Raoni looking on.

Philip teamed up with Cirque du Soleil to shine the spotlight on global water needs, composed the original soundtrack to the epic BBC series Human Universe, scored the catwalk for Alexander McQueen and wrote the strings for the #1 album Like Clockwork by Queens of the Stone Age.  And David Bowie has said he can rock an electric cello like none other.  Over the years, he’s also worked with Jarvis Cocker, Jeff Buckley, Scott Walker, The Weeknd, Suzanne Vega, UNKLE, Pretty Lights and virtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

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Conducting in Abbey Road Studios

Large-scale – and complex – productions are another of Philip’s fortes.  For the 2012 London Olympics, he was given 52 hours to re-score and record all 206 of the world’s national anthems with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  His portfolio also includes the Tour de France, the Rugby World Cup, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and New Year’s Eve at the world’s tallest building in Dubai.

Philip was honored with BBC’s Music Production of the Year for The Manchester Passion and was recently named as one of Origin Magazine’s “Top 100 Creatives in the U.S.”  He is the recipient of a FRAM Fellowship, a lifetime achievement award from the Royal Academy of Music for his services to music and education.  

“From the Olympics to the edge of space, from Cirque du Soleil to Silicon Valley; music is my engine of disruption.” Philip Sheppard 2016

Sheppard’s score gifted to JJ Abrams after collaborating on the Star Wars trailer