Adjunct Assistant Professor
2083 Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Web site: http://www.orrganizedsound.com
Philip Orr is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music in Rider University’s School of Fine and Performing Arts. He brings 35 years professional experience in conducting, performing, and composing to his positions as Director of the Rider University Choir and teacher of piano, musicianship, music history, music theory and music appreciation courses.
The Director of the Rider University Choir since 2008, his vision promotes singing with passion and integrity the joys and concerns of our own time and culture, and those of others; celebrating and respecting the things that make people alike and different, as well as the natural world we all live in. The current Minister of Music at Calvary Baptist Church in Hopewell, NJ, Mr. Orr has directed choirs of all ages and abilities for 30 years in churches of four denominations in four states. A graduate of Westminster Choir College (B.M. sacred music, summa cum lauda; M.M. composition, with distinction), he studied conducting there with James Jordon, Andrew Megill and Joseph Flummerfelt. His student career placed him under the batons of conductors Kurt Masur, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Helmuth Rilling, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Zdenk Macal, performing the choral masterworks of Britten, Honegger, Dvorak, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bernstein, and Mendelssohn in New York’s and Philadelphia’s great concert halls.
Mr. Orr's professional performances have largely centered on his work as piano, organ and/or synthesizer soloist and collaborator in concert halls, nightclubs, pit orchestras and recording studios, with occasional forays as trumpet/flugelhorn/mellophone soloist and recorder soloist; he has been a featured performer on two LP and five CD recordings (leading to 2006’s Cool Yule to You). His recent history with Rider’s musical productions includes Cabaret (2008, vocal director, keyboardist) and Urinetown (2006, pianist); he was also the accompanying staff for the Westminster High School Music Theater Workshop’s initial seasons, 1995-1998. The former accompanist and sometime arranger for singers Vic Damone and Sandler & Young, Orr’s jazz pianism has joined him with Frank Foster, Danny Stiles, Bill Watrous, Don Elliot, Melvin Sparks and Art Davis, among many others, and lately led to his one-man presentation, “The First Century of Jazz at the Piano” for the Steinway Society of Greater Princeton, the annual “Dixieland Hymns and Spirituals” concerts with Rider colleague Jerry Rife, and original contemporary post-bop jazz with Steve Hiltner’s Sustainable Jazz Trio.
The recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts fellowship for composition and a 2009 ASCAPlus Writers Award, his published compositions and arrangements integrate his eclectic tastes into works for vocal and instrumental solos and ensembles in various genres; A Sacrifice of Praise, a 2009 multi-movement commission for choir, soloists, organ, harp and percussion, was premiered at Princeton Theological Seminary to commemorate the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth. Among several others, commissioning groups have included The Lawrenceville School Wind Ensemble (2010 Bicentennial), Many Voices, One Song (Birmingham, MI), Children’s Aid Society (NYC), and Garden State Sinfonia.
Philip Orr is a member of the American Guild of Organists [http://www.agohq.org], American Choral Directors Association [http://www.acdaonline.org], American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers [http://www.ascap.com], The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada [http://www.thehymnsociety.org], The College Music Society [http://www.music.org], and Pi Kappa Lambda. His compositions have been published by Hope, Transcontinental, Church Publishing, and Orrganized Sound.