Charlotte Academy of Music is so pleased to welcome Dr. Robert Ridgell to our piano faculty!
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Dr. Robert Ridgell began his piano study as a child with highly respected teachers Delores Heyd followed by Dzidra Reimanis. He participated in many of the same piano competitions as our CAM students, including Festival, NCMTA, Charlotte Piano Teachers Forum Auditions. Dr. Rob later began organ study with David Lowry at Winthrop University, then attended Indiana University School of Music (Bloomington) where he studied with Marilyn Keiser graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree. In 2004, he graduated from Westminster Choir College in Princeton with his Master of Music degree where he studied with Stefan Engels and was a finalist in the American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Improvisation. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rutgers University where he studied with Antonius Bittmann and Mark Trautman. Dr. Ridgell, one of America’s highly acclaimed church musicians is the Organist and Music Associate of Weddington United Methodist Church. He has served cathedrals and churches throughout the United States including Christ Church (Charlotte), the Cathedral of the Madeleine (Salt Lake City), the Cathedral Church of the Savior (Philadelphia), Trinity Church Wall Street (New York), and the Cathedral of Saint Paul (Minnesota). Dr. Rob can be seen in film as the “Organist” in the 2008 release of “Doubt” featuring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman produced by MIRAMAX®.
In demand as an accompanist, music teacher, choral conductor and composer – Dr. Rob has toured throughout North America, Europe, and Asia offering concerts and lectures specializing in liturgical music, youth choir training, community music initiatives and improvisation. He is the author of several articles on community music-making published by Liturgical Press and Church Publishing. Together with Gregory Glenn and Msgr. Francis Mannion, he helped build the choral foundation of the Madeleine Choir School (1996) in Salt Lake City – the only co-educational Roman Catholic choir school in the United States. In 2004 he founded the “Alumnae Cantores” of the Princeton Girlchoir. From 2006-2007, he was the Artistic Director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Bicentennial Concert Orchestra and Chorus with over 400 students. He has prepared youth choristers for performances with the San Francisco Opera, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Frederica von Stade, Robert Redford, and EMI Records. Dr. Rob founded New York City’s Trinity Youth Chorus in 2005. Since then, this community-based youth choir program has grown to over 200 choristers and is one of the leading youth choir/community music programs in revitalized Lower Manhattan.
Dr. Rob believes that each day – we’re discovering how our whole-life and music are equally seedbeds for being fully human. Music’s intrinsic value forms us for collaboration, compassion, creativity, engaged freedom, generosity and hospitality as well as community. Whether teaching our youngest children a handful of piano notes or helping a congregation sing – Dr. Rob practices the Ubunto philosophy in making-music together, that is: “a person is a person through other people” and music is the lens to make that happen. Beauty redeems the world!