Philip Mead studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music, London, receiving numerous prizes and awards and a distinction in his final practical exam. Mead was a prize winner of the 1978 Gaudeamus International competition for Interpreters of Contemporary Music, and since then has been actively involved in contemporary music. He has performed virtually the entire piano music of Messiaen at London’s South Bank and given premieres by Crumb and Stockhausen. In January 2004 Mead gave the first London performance of Henry Cowell’s Piano Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. This peformance was conducted by Lawrence Foster at the Barbican during the BBC John Cage Festival.
Since 1985 Mead has toured worldwide performing works for piano and electronics, with pieces specially commissioned. In the United States he has been the Carlo Menotti Artist in Residence at the University of South Carolina, the Dee Fellow at the University of Utah, and pianist in residence at the University of Texas. He has also held residencies at several International computer music conferences – Glasgow (1991), Tokyo (1993) and Aarhus, Denmark (1994) where he performed three contemporary concertos with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra.
A regular performer on BBC Radio Three, he has recently been involved in the “Toward the Millennium”series, performing Mantra by Stockhausen, and has had his own series, “Keystrokes”, exploring some unlikely combinations in twentieth-century piano music. He has been involved in many CD projects of music for piano and electronics by such composers as Alvarez, Vinao, Montague, Emmerson, Smalley and Vaggione. Most recently he has released music by Katharine Norman, Jonathan Harvey, Charles Ives, George Crumb and Daniel Teruggi.
More recently Mead has become interested in the possibilities of expanding the repertoire for brass and piano and has commissioned numerous composers to write for various combinations, from small groups to brass band. These works have been performed in Festivals throughout Britain, the last major promotion being 6th May 2004 when the premier of Martin Ellerby’s Cabaret Concerto was performed with the CSD Brass Band in Cambridge.
Philip Mead is founder and artistic director of the British Contemporary Piano Competition, held every three years since 1988; Head of Keyboard the London College of Music and Media, and was a Director of the Society for the Promotion of New Music from 1994 to 1998.