Hailed by The New York Times for his ensembles’ “warm tone and carefully calibrated blend”, Phillip Cheah is in his ninth season as Music Director of Central City Chorus. He is also the Music Director of Amuse, an elite women’s ensemble, as well as a founding member of the New York-based new music chorus, C4: The Choral Composer-Conductor Collective. He has conducted REBEL Baroque Orchestra, the Adelphi Orchestra, New Music New York, and Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble, and he is a regularly featured guest conductor at various New York Summer Sings hosted by the New York Choral Consortium, the West Village Chorale, New York Choral Society, and the St. George’s Choral Society. He was the assistant conductor and répétiteur at the Amato Opera for three seasons and he has served as the music director for musical theatre productions at The Brearley School, Acting Manitou, Dwight-Englewood School, Bloomington Music Works, and the 13th Street Repertory Company.
An accomplished vocalist, Cheah has been praised for his “particularly potent contribution” (The New York Times), a “warm tone and stately presence” (parterre box), and a unique three-and-a-half octave vocal range which “defies the laws of nature” (Time Out New York). He is a member of the professional choir at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields and sang for many seasons with the renowned Bach Vespers Choir at Holy Trinity Church. He has performed at major venues like Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Madison Square Garden, Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, Trinity Church Wall Street, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Saint Bartholomew’s Church, and Temple Emanu-El with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, John Scott, Sir Paul McCartney, Olympia Dukakis, Ramin Djawadi, YEBBA, and Madonna. He can be heard on the Pro Organo, Tzadik, and MSR Classics recording labels. Together with pianist Trudy Chan, he is the Co-Artistic Director of the Cheah Chan Duo whose concerts feature uniquely curated programs of art songs and piano works on themes of cultural and social issues. Time Out New York has lauded the Duo’s “restlessly inquisitive” performances at The National Opera Center, The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, Tenri Cultural Institute, Cornelia Street Café, Spectrum NYC, the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, St. Bartholomew’s Church, Symphony Space’s Leonard Nimoy Thalia, the National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia), and Victoria Theatre (Singapore).
Cheah has held teaching appointments at The Putney School, Cathedral High School, Barnard College, and Manhattan School of Music, as well as serving as the staff accompanist at The Brearley School. He has been the personal assistant to Peter Schickele and worked at Oxford University Press as Manager for Concert and Choral Promotion. He holds both B.S. and M.M. degrees from Indiana University where he studied piano, conducting, and opera coaching. In addition to studying at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien under the auspices of the Institut für Europäische Studien, he was also a recipient of the 2002 National Endowment for Humanities Grant to study the German operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Vienna, Austria.