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Louisville, KY native Phillip Lee Burkhead began teaching himself to play piano at the age of eight by emulating pop and jazz artists. In 1979 he began his formal training at Bellarmine College as a piano and voice major. Studying under John Craig, Kay Lawrence and Steve Crews he was awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for academic and performance excellence.
Mr. Burkhead was the holder of a four year Honors Scholarship in the Jazz and Studio Music program at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. In 1989 he was chosen to receive the Dino Santangelo Annual Award, and the Presser Scholar Award for both academic and performance achievement. Mr. Burkhead was also awarded Best Keyboard Artist by Cincinnati Magazine, the University of Boulder Jazz Festival Soloist Award while a member of the CCM group “Jazz Hates Johnny” which was voted Outstanding Combo in the USA and Canada by Downbeat Magazine. Mr. Burkhead earned a Vocational Teaching License and a Masters of Education from Wright State University in 2003.
Mr. Burkhead has been studying and performing Jazz since 1981. He has performed with Jon Von Ohlen, Tim Froncek, Cal Collins, Kenny Poole, Jimmy Rainey, Jimmy McGary, Al Kiger, Kate Lauer, Randy Sanke, David Liebman, John Fedchock, John Clayton, Jamey Abersold, Ron McCurdy, Jon Faddis, Pete Escovedo, Greg Abate, Jeff Coffin, Don Braden, and Lynn Roberts. Groups include The Blue Wisp Big Band, The Dayton Jazz Orchestra, The Newport Dream Band, The Louisville Stage Band, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Coasters, and The Shirelles.
He has taught at Miami University, Central State University, the CCM College Preparatory Program, and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He taught music in Cincinnati’s Catholic school system and from 1993 to 2005 Phillip was an instructor at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati. During his time at SCPA Mr. Burkhead taught Piano, Theory/Composition, Improvisation, Arranging, Music Technology, Jazz Ensemble, and was the Musical Director of The Book of Five Rings, which toured Gifu, Japan in 1999. He has been included in Who’s Who of American Teacher’s three times. In 2005 he was given an award from the Cincinnati based organization JAZZ ALIVE in grateful recognition of his continuing support in providing and preserving jazz in the greater Cincinnati area.
In addition to teaching part-time for the Department of Music at UD, Mr. Burkhead is an Adjunct Professor of Jazz Piano at Northern Kentucky University. He also serves as the pianist for a praise band at the Redeemer Church in Hamilton, OH.