Our Music Director and Staff
Phillip Cheah, Music Director
Born in the United States and raised in Singapore, Phillip Cheah is currently based in New York City where he maintains an active professional life as a conductor, vocalist, pianist, and teacher.
Hailed by The New York Times for the “warm tone and carefully calibrated blend” elicited from his choirs, Cheah is in his seventh season as the Music Director of the Central City Chorus and directs Guildsingers, an early music consort of voices. He has also conducted New Music New York, Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble, Amuse, and C4 Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, a New York-based new music ensemble which he co-founded. Additionally he has been a regular guest conductor at various New York Summer Sings hosted by the New York Choral Consortium, the New York Choral Society, the West Village Chorale, and the St George’s Choral Society. From 2003-2006, he was the assistant conductor and répétiteur at the Amato Opera where he led performances of La Bohème, Le nozze di Figaro, Die lustige Witwe, Die Zauberflöte, La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, and Zeke Hecker’s The Forest, the first and only work commissioned by Amato in its 61-year history. Equally at home with musical theatre, he has served as the music director for Once on This Island, Gypsy, Hello, Dolly!, The Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Rent, and The Sound of Music at The Brearley School (where he was the staff accompanist from 2010-2016), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Assassins for Acting Manitou, Working at the Dwight-Englewood School, The Fantasticks and Little Shop of Horrors for Bloomington Music Works, and One Night with Fanny Brice at the 13th Street Repertory Company.
An accomplished vocalist, Cheah has been praised for his “particularly potent contribution” (The New York Times), a “warm tone and stately presence” (parterre box), and a unique three-and-a-half octave vocal range which “defies the laws of nature” (Time Out New York). He has sung with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue, Trinity Wall Street, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Temple Emanu-El, Vox Vocal Ensemble, and Western Wind Vocal Ensemble, performing under the batons of Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Masur, Martin Hasselböck, Bernard Labadie, John Scott, Stephen Layton, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. He has appeared as a soloist with the Church of Saint Luke in the Fields, The Glass Menagerie, the Crescent Choral Society, and the Canby Singers. Together with pianist Trudy Chan, he is the co-artistic director of the Cheah Chan Duo which presents uniquely curated artsong programs that span a variety of subjects, languages, geography, and time-periods. Time Out New York has lauded the Duo’s “restlessly inquisitive” performances at the Church of Saint Luke in the Fields, The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, Tenri Cultural Institute, Cornelia Street Café, and Symphony Space’s Leonard Nimoy Thalia (as part of the 2011 Music of Now Marathon).
Cheah has held teaching appointments at The Putney School, Cathedral High School, Barnard College, and Manhattan School of Music, as well as serving as the staff accompanist at The Brearley School. He has also been the personal assistant to the composer/satirist Peter Schickele and worked at Oxford University Press as Manager for Concert and Choral Promotion. He holds both B.S. and M.M. degrees from Indiana University where he studied piano, conducting, and opera coaching. He was also a recipient of the 2002 National Endowment for Humanities Grant to study the German operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Vienna, Austria.
Miles Fellenberg, Assistant Conductor and Accompanist
Hailed by Cleveland Classical as performing with “fiery energy” and with a “proper blend of swooning fervency and cool control” by the Santa Barbara News Press, Miles Fellenberg leads an active and diverse career. His notable appearances include recitals at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Museum of Modern Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Aspen Music Festival, Harvard University, and Yale University. His international engagements have led him to Ecuador, Italy, China, and South Korea, where he has simultaneously held teaching and performing positions.
In addition to his work the the Central City Chorus, Fellenberg is a Staff Pianist at The Juilliard School and is the Music Director of the Parkchester Chorus in the Bronx. He is the Founder/Artistic Director of the New Jersey Young Artist Piano Competition, which annually awards dedicated young musicians financial support, performance opportunities, and artistic guidance. He is a member of the piano faculty at the Church Street School for Music & Art, where he teaches numerous young students and coaches chamber music. He was formerly a Staff Pianist at the Aspen Music Festival & School (2015) and a visiting faculty member for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (2016).
Fellenberg holds degrees from Manhattan School of Music, Oberlin College, and The Juilliard School, where he was the recipient of the David Garvey Scholarship and the P. & A. Shaffer Memorial Scholarship. He additionally spent two summers as a Collaborative Piano Fellow at the Music Academy of the West under the auspices of the Mary A. Kana Endowed Full Scholarship, where he studied with Jonathan Feldman, his Juilliard teacher.