Meet the Artist……Philip Mead

©Philip Mead
©Philip Mead

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and make it your career? 

My father who was an amateur pianist, piano tuner, conductor and trumpet player

Who or what were the most important influences on your playing? 

Ruth Harte and Stephen Savage for piano

Stephen Rhys for general music

Hans Keller and Henry David Thoreau for philosophy.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far? 

Giving the first London performance of the Cowell Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in January 2004. The score is little more than a sketch.

Organising the first complete performance of the ‘Spectrum’ series of piano pieces with 144 pianists lasting 8 hours in 2008

Which performances/compositions/recordings are you most proud of? 

Complete Ives piano music on Metier

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in? 

St Augustine’s Church, Cambridge

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to? 

Ives piano music

Who are your favourite musicians? 

The composer Horacio Vaggione.

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

The previously mentioned Cowell Piano Concerto premiere

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians? 

Find your own way of doing things.

As a teacher make yourself dispensible as soon as possible.

What are you working on at the moment? 

Ives Concord Sonata

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time? 

Still alive

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

A meal with my wife and children

What is your most treasured possession? 

My Boston Grand piano

What do you enjoy doing most?


What is your present state of mind? 


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 at the forefront of contemporary music in this country. He has performed virtually the entire piano music of Messiaen at London’s Southbank Centre, and given premieres by major composers such as Crumb and Stockhausen.

Philip Mead’s full biography

British Contemporary Piano Competition 2013