Philip Cavanaugh, back right, with the King’s Counterpoint.
Retired choral director Philip Cavanaugh ’55 auditioned for and was accepted into the King’s Counterpoint, a professional vocal ensemble based in Charleston, South Carolina. Philip began his career in Pennsylvania public schools.
He obtained a master of arts degree from Columbia University in New York City. While there, he sang in the university chorus under the direction of Harry Robert Wilson and studied horn with Wendell Wilbur, formerly principal horn in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Returning to Pittsburgh, he obtained a teaching fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh and directed the Men’s Glee Club and Women’s Chorale and taught instrumental and choral conducting and introductory music courses. He also directed the St. Philip Neri oratory choir, a
semiprofessional choir that sang weekly for the Roman Mass in Heinz Chapel.
Philip received a PhD in historical musicology with emphasis in medieval and renaissance music. His dissertation was directed by Robert Snow, and the findings of his research were published in Acta Musicologica, journal of the International Musicological Society.
He accepted lectureship at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he directed the college and university choirs and taught courses in history and literature. He directed the Hong Kong Bach Choir and played horn in the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
Returning to the United States, he became director of choral activities at Skidmore College in upstate New York. He taught medieval and renaissance history and directed two choirs in the community. He also toured Spain with the Women’s Chorus.
In Charleston, he has directed the Metropolitan Civic Orchestra, guest conducted the Berkeley County Youth Orchestra, and with his wife, Ruth, sings in the Stella Maris Church choir. He and Ruth have seven children, 14 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
His activities can be followed on the
King’s Counterpoint website