Sergeant First Class Phillip Helm earned his Bachelor of Music from West Texas A&M University where he studied with David Murray. He also attended the Manhattan School of Music college and pre-college divisions, where he studied with Linda McKnight. As a student, Sgt. 1st Class Helm spent his summers studying with Gary Karr on Vancouver Island in Canada. He received additional summer training performing with the Bard College Conductors Institute Orchestra and with the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra. Sgt. 1st Class Helm has also studied with Paul Bresciani, John Feeney, and Leigh Mesh.
In addition to his duties with the West Point Band, Sgt. 1st Class Helm is the principal bass of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the assistant principal of the Grammy Award-winning Albany Symphony Orchestra.
Sgt. 1st Class Helm performs regularly with the Berkshire Bach Society, Kairos: A Consort of Singers, Maverick Chamber Players, Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, and the new music groups Dogs of Desire and Pone Ensemble. He is also a member of the alternative bluegrass band Uncommon Ground.
Sgt. 1st Class Helm has played as first-call substitute with the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, and the Syracuse Symphony. He has also played with the New York Philharmonic, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Amarillo Symphony, and the Key West Symphony.
His extensive commercial and orchestral work has included playing with such notable performers as Clay Aiken, Joshua Bell, Michael Bolton, Cirque Du Soleil, Placido Domingo, Josh Groban, Olivia Newton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Bette Midler, Natalie Merchant, Luciano Pavarotti, and Kenny Rogers.
Sgt. 1st Class Helm has taught at SUNY New Paltz, Bard College, and the Stringendo Music School. He has also been the bass coach with the Empire State and Hudson Valley Youth Orchestras and has presented master classes at the Hartt School of Music. He currently maintains a large studio of private students.