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 South Bank and given premieres by major composers such as Crumb and Stockhausen.
Mead has performed with many orchestras including the BBC Symphony at The Proms, the Aarhus Symphony in Denmark with three contemporary concertos, and the American Symphony at the Lincoln Center, New York.
In 2004 Mead gave the first London performance of Henry Cowell's Piano Concerto at the Barbican with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lawrence Foster and broadcast by both BBC Radio 3 and BBC 4 television. At the 2007 Spitalfields festival where Mead gave the European Premiere of Chris Dench�s major work for solo piano "Passing Bells: Night".
Since 1985 Mead has toured worldwide performing works for piano and electronics, with pieces specially commissioned by leading composers. "Tombeau de Messiaen" by Jonathan Harvey, commissioned by Mead in 1995 is now performed by very many pianists throughout the world and is considered a classic of the medium.
His most recent premiere performance was of Richard Blackford's Polymetric Studies at the Music Fest in Aberystwyth due to be recorded by Nimbus later in 2016.
He has been a regular performer on BBC Radio Three since 1979. Recently he has been involved in the "Toward the Millennium" series, performing Mantra by Stockhausen, and has had his own series, "Keystrokes" exploring some unlikely combinations in twentieth-century piano music.
He has recorded many CDs of music for piano and electronics by such composers as Alvarez, Vinao, Emmerson, Smalley and Vaggione, Katharine Norman, Jonathan Harvey, and Daniel Teruggi. He has also recorded the entire solo piano music of Charles Ives, which was Observer CD of the Week, and the entire solo piano music of George Crumb on the Metier label. 2006 saw the results of a 25 year long association with the music of Stephen Montague in the production of the CD "Southern Lament" which won the International Piano Award for best new music CD of 2006. Details on the discography page.
Since 1997 Mead has been interested in the possibilities of expanding the repertoire for brass and piano and has commissioned numerous composers to write for various combinations, from small groups to brass band. These works have been performed throughout Britain, including St. John's Smith Square and the Huddersfield Festival. 'In October 2010 he recorded Martin Ellerby's "Cabaret Concerto" with the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band on the Polyphonia label.
Philip Mead is founder and was artistic director of the British Contemporary Piano Competition, held every three years since 1988.This has become established as an important part of the new music calendar with many of today's younger pianists as past prize winners. The next competition will be held in 2017.
He is an honorary life member of the European Piano Teachers' Association.