Artist Catalog

Phillip Ramey

Born: September 12 1939
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Phillip Ramey

Phillip Ramey (born September 12, 1939 in Elmhurst, Illinois, United States) is an American composer, pianist, and writer on music.

He studied composition with the Russian-born composer Alexander Tcherepnin from 1959 to 1962, first at the International Academy of Music in Nice, France, then at DePaul University in Chicago. He later studied composition with Jack Beeson at Columbia University (1962–65). Ramey has had professional associations with Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Virgil Thomson, William Schuman, David Diamond and Vladimir Horowitz. For many years, he was a close friend and a neighbor of Paul Bowles in Tangier, Morocco. Virgil Thomson honored him with a musical portrait for piano titled "Phillip Ramey: Thinking Hard"; it has been recorded by pianists Jacquelyn Helin and Bennett Lerner, and is analyzed in Anthony Tommasini's book Virgil Thomson's Musical Portraits.

Ramey is the composer of orchestral works including three piano concertos, chamber music, and many works for solo piano, among them ten sonatas. In 1993 his Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to celebrate its 150th Anniversary, was premiered by that orchestra under Leonard Slatkin, with Philip Myers as soloist. On Nov. 14, 1985, Proclamation for Orchestra, Ramey's orchestration of Copland's Proclamation for Piano, received an unusual bi-coastal premiere: by the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Erich Leinsdorf. The New York Philharmonic concert was telecast as "Aaron Copland's 85th Birthday" (episode 61 of the Live from Lincoln Center telecasts). His music has been published by Boosey & Hawkes, G. Schirmer, C. F. Peters, and Edward B. Marks, among other firms.

Ramey is the author of several hundred liner notes and interviews with American composers, and served from 1977 to 1993 as the annotator and Program Editor for the New York Philharmonic. He is also the author of Irving Fine: An American Composer in His Time, which received the 2006 ASCAP Deems Taylor/Nicolas Slonimsky Award for Outstanding Musical Biography.

Ramey appeared in the 1998 documentary Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles and the 2000 documentary Night Waltz: The Music of Paul Bowles. In 2010 he completed his autobiography, and he currently serves as Vice-President of The Tcherepnin Society.
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