Born in 1971 in Paris, Xavier Phillips began to study the cello at the early age of 6. By 15, he entered Philippe Muller’s studio at the CNSM in Paris and graduated with first prize in 1989.
After these formative years, he won several international prizes: the Second Prize and Special Prize at the Young Artists of Belgrade Competition, the Special Prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Third and Special Prize at the Rostropovich Competition in Paris and the First Prize, awarded unanimously, at the 1st Competition of Helsinki. His participation brought him to the attention of Mstislav Rostropovich, who had been particularly taken with his playing during the Rostropovich competition. Their encounter proved especially fruitful since it marked the beginning of a long collaboration during which Xavier Phillips received the guidance and encouragement of the master cellist.