About Charles

Charles Whitehead is a New Zealand concert-pianist, jazz musician and music educator of Maori, English and Samoan heritage, residing in the United States. He received his PhD in Fine Arts, Piano Performance under the mentorship of Texas Tech University's Artist-in-Residence, Dr. William Westney in May 2019. He is the final PhD Fine Arts performance major to graduate at this institution. Prior to this, he studied with Van Cliburn Competition Gold Medalist, Jose Feghali in the Master of Music and Artist Diploma programs at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. 

As a soloist, Charles has performed in many countries with a diverse performing repertoire ranging from Orlando Gibbons to Charles Wuorinen. His special interest is in the groundbreaking music of the early 20th Century. As a resident in Fort Worth, Charles was actively involved in TCU's New Music Ensemble, playing solo piano music by Bernard Rands and Ludmila Yurina in US premiere performances. In November 2017, Charles performed his New York debut recital at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the following year. In 2019, he performed solo concerts in Florence, Italy and in London at St. Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square where he represented New Zealand in the Pianists of the World Concert Series; as competition winner, he performed Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3 with the Texas Tech Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Philip Mann. 

In the areas of piano pedagogy and performance literature, his creative research was inspired by Heinrich Neuhaus' intriguing comments on Stanislavski in Neuhaus' classic text, "The Art of Piano Playing". Charles' interdisciplinary research adapts aspects of Konstantin Stanislavski's acting 'System' - specifically, the ideas of artistic 'truth', justification, creative 'experiencing' in performance, and through-line of actions - to the preparation and performance of solo instrumental works. Charles has presented his research at conferences in the US and Canada on topics related to this ongoing research. In the Spring of 2019 his dissertation was nominated by faculty for an Outstanding Dissertation Award in the humanities and fine arts category at Texas Tech University. His teaching for the College of Visual and Performing Arts and for the School of Music and his participation as an adjudicator at the Texas Tech Annual Jazz Festival are highlights of his doctoral work. He recently judged the Rocky Mountain Music Competition in Toronto in the advanced levels of solo piano, concerto, jazz and vocal categories.

Charles' professional work as a pianist extends to chamber music, opera, musical theatre and jazz. In May, 2021 at the newly opened Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas, he performed as pianist and arranger for David Gaschen's guest artist performance with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. Charles Whitehead is the composer of sacred compositions and two original musical theatre works with libretto by Emmy award-winning writer Dr. Richard Allen, both of which premiered in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.


Contact Charles at: charleswhiteheadmusic@gmail.com