Conductor, Pianist, Harpsichordist
PHILIP MOREHEAD recently retired as Head of Music Staff of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Ryan Opera Center. Since 2015 Mr. Morehead has lived in Canada. In August he conducts for the Highlands Opera Studio (HOS) in Halliburton, Ontario. For HOS he has conducted Faust, Così fan tutte, La Bohème, and Ariadne auf Naxos. In addition, he has performed as pianist for the Muskoka Big Band.
Mr. Morehead's positions at Lyric included Music Administrator, Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor. Mr. Morehead was cover conductor at Lyric Opera for The Passenger, Die Meistersinger, Jenufa, Der fliegende Holländer, Sweeney Todd, Billy Budd and many others. He conducted regular season performances of Die Fledermaus, Un ballo in maschera, and The Mikado and of the premiere production of Anthony Davis's Amistad and student performances of La Traviata, The Cunning Little Vixen, Paliacci, Magic Flute and Carmen. In addition to repertoire coaching and work in preparation of Lyric Opera and Ryan Opera Center productions, he conducted performances of Rossini's Cinderella for the Center. In the summer of 2008 he conducted Il barbiere di Siviglia for Lyrique-en-Mer Festival on Belle-Ile, France, and returned in 2011 to conduct L'elisir d'amore.
Mr. Morehead is a free-lance pianist, harpsichordist, and conductor. His conducting work has included performances of Boulez' Improvisations sur Malarmé for the Contemporary Chamber Players at The University of Chicago and Gounod's Faust at Illinois State University. He is a founding member of CUBE, a Chicago-based chamber ensemble formerly specializing in the performance of new music. With the CUBE ensemble he performed as pianist in a wide variety of repertoire and has conducted the ensemble in world premieres of William Ferris An Eden Garden, Sebastian Huydts Three Serious Songs, Russ Grazier Leaving, Arriving, and other works.
From 1981 to 1985 Mr. Morehead worked regularly with Tulsa Opera in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In Spring of 1983 he conducted student performances of Puccini's Madame Butterfly, and in 1984 he conducted their Spring production of Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, directed by David Gately and starring Karen Hunt and James Billings.
Before coming to Lyric Opera in 1981, Mr. Morehead, a native of New York City, was Coordinator of the Orchestral Training Program at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. His previous positions in Canada included the conductorship of the Bach-Elgar Choral Society in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1984 and 1985 he conducted for the Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop concerts including the Canadian premiere of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Concerto for Oboe.
Prior to 1978, Mr. Morehead lived in Boston, Massachusetts, where he was Musical Director of the New England Chamber Opera Group, for which he conducted American premieres of Busoni's Arlecchino and Handel's Imeneo, the world premiere of Paul Earls' The Death of King Phillip, and other works including Stravinsky's Mavra and Menotti's The Medium, as well as standard repertory. He was also Musical Director of the Newton Chamber Orchestra and the Brookline Symphony Orchestra. He was assistant conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, rehearsal pianist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and for seven years a member of the faculty of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. He has performed widely as pianist and harpsichordist, and played continuo with the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Bernstein, and Peter Maag.
Mr. Morehead was educated at Trinity School (New York), The Baylor School (Chattanooga), Swarthmore College, Harvard University, and the New England Conservatory of Music. He studied for two years in Paris and Fontainebleau with famed teacher Nadia Boulanger.
In addition to his musical activities, Mr. Morehead is the editor of revised versions of the New American Roget's College Thesaurus, The New American Webster's Handy College Dictionary and Hoyle's Rules of Games. He is author of The New International Dictionary of Music and the Penguin Thesaurus.