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 candidate to graduate as a performance major 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. 

Charles has performed as a soloist 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. Charles performed his New York debut recital at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in November 2017. In 2019, he plays solo concerts in Florence, Italy and also in London where he represents New Zealand in the Pianists of the World Concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square; with orchestra in the US, he performs Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3. His professional work as a pianist extends to chamber music, opera, musical theatre and Latin jazz. As a resident in Fort Worth, Texas he was actively involved in TCU's New Music Ensemble, playing solo piano music by Bernard Rands and Ludmila Yurina in US premiere performances. Charles' professional relationships as a collaborative pianist, choral director, vocal coach, musical director and arranger have diversified his musical activities.

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's 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 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. 

Dr. 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. 

For a full resumé, click here.

Contact Charles at: charleswhiteheadmusic@gmail.com