Catawba welcomes Burgess as new, but familiar choral music director

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dr. Phillip Burgess, who has been an adjunct instructor of sacred music in the Catawba College music department for the past three years, will step in to serve as the college’s director of choral music this academic year. Burgess, well-known in the Salisbury-Rowan community for his role as organist and choirmaster at the downtown St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, will also continue to serve in that capacity.
Dr. David Fish, chair of Catawba’s music department, said Burgess’ involvement in the Salisbury-Rowan community will help strengthen the college’s town-gown relationship and lead to broader performance opportunities for Catawba’s choral students.
“Dr. Burgess’ familiarity with our community and college is a boon for our music program. He has the expertise to help guide our students in performing college-level work and the insight and knowledge to know what compositions will resonate with audiences. We can anticipate that these abilities will guide him as he plans and directs Catawba’s 26th annual Service of Lessons and Carols this year,” Fish said.
Burgess welcomed the opportunity to have a more active role in Catawba’s choral music. “I am very pleased to have this wonderful opportunity at Catawba College. The ability to make music with others is very exciting, and it is my goal to share my excitement and enthusiasm with the students at Catawba. I look forward to nurturing and encouraging each student as they grow and develop their individual gifts and talents. It is my hope that together we all can continue to strengthen and support the overwhelming amount of talent available to us in this community.”
Burgess earned his bachelor of music degree from Samford University. He holds his master of music and his doctor of musical arts degrees from The University of Michigan. His teachers have included Marilyn Mason and Robert Glasgow, Ted Tibbs, organ; Betty Sue Shepherd, piano; Jerry Blackstone, Robert Page and Weston Noble, conducting; and Shirley McCrae and Jos Wuytack, Orff.
Prior to his work at Catawba, he was on the faculty of Pfeiffer University and the University of Michigan. In addition to his work at Catawba and St. Luke’s, he directs the Salisbury Ecumenical Choir. His work with this multi-cultural choir has led to several honors, including the 2012 Mayor’s Spirit Award and the Koontz Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Burgess has been a choral conducting scholar at Keenefest and at the Renee Clausen Summer Institutes. He has authored articles for “The Diapason” and “The American Organist,” and is a contributing columnist for the Salisbury Post.