BioBiography and Press Photos approved for use
The music of David Evan Thomas is praised for its eloquence, lyricism and craft. Critics note the composer’s loving ties to tradition, expressed in a refreshing, contemporary voice. Performers appreciate the clearly executed scores and technical know-how. Listeners respond to the music’s warmth, playfulness and sheer invention.
Honored with a Citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowships (2013, 1992), a Montana Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship (1987), and the Möller-A.G.O. Award in Choral Composition, Thomas has received commissions from the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the American Composers Forum and the American Guild of Organists. He has been a resident artist at Wyoming’s Ucross and Brush Creek Arts Foundations, and at California’s Villa Montalvo. Recent honors include the Renée B. Fisher Composer Award and the Welcome Christmas Carol Award from VocalEssence.
David Evan Thomas’s varied catalogue includes music for orchestra and wind ensemble, forty chamber works, keyboard pieces large and small, an opera and an oratorio. Vocal music is particularly prominent, with over a dozen song cycles—on subjects ranging from medieval women troubadours to baseball writings of Donald Hall—and some sixty choral works. Thomas’s music is published by Adlais, ALRY, Augsburg Fortress, Cherry Classics, ECS, Falls House, Fatrock Ink, Jeanné, MorningStar, Classical Vocal Reprints VocalEssence Press and Yelton-Rhodes, and recorded on Innova, Klavier, Ten Thousand Lakes and CRI. Thomas’s newest release, From the Land of Song, appears on THREESCORE, a recording by cellist Laura Sewell on the Innova label.
Thomas’s orchestral music has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, National Orchestral Association, Rochester Chamber Orchestra and Long Island Philharmonic, conducted by Gian-Carlo Guerrero, Jorge Mester and Eiji Oue. His choral works have been sung by London’s Westminster Cathedral Choir, the Minnesota Chorale, VocalEssence, the National Lutheran Choir, Kantorei and the Rose Ensemble. Thomas chamber works have been played by Gil Shaham, Truls Mørk and Yefim Bronfman; the Minneapolis, Artaria, Lux and Rosalyra String Quartets; the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet; the Debussy Trio, Zeitgeist and many beloved solo performers: singers Karen Clift, Maria Jette, Patricia Kent, Clara Osowski, Vern Sutton, Lawrence Weller, Gregory Wiest and Adriana Zabala; pianists Lydia Artymiw, Mark Bilyeu, John Churchwell, Margo Garrett, Timothy Lovelace and Shannon Wettstein; organists James Biery, Marilyn Biery, Dean Billmeier, Stephen Self and Katie T. Moss—who made Thomas’s music the subject of her Indiana University doctoral dissertation—and instrumentalists David Baldwin, Burt Hara, Erin Keefe and Jeffrey Van. Among recent projects: To Joy, a 14-song cycle for solo quartet and piano duet, and One Fair Summer Eve, commissioned by the Minnesota State Band.
Born in Rochester, New York in 1958, David Evan Thomas grew up as the fourth of five children in a musical family, the son of flutist John Thomas. David attended Penfield High School and the Eastman “Prep” Department, graduating with Honors in Trumpet and receiving encouragement in composition from David Russell Williams. He joined the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in 1973, appearing as soloist in 1976. As an undergraduate at Northwestern University, he studied trumpet and composition and sang in the Alice Millar Chapel Choir under Grigg Fountain’s direction. As a master’s student at Eastman, he was awarded the Director’s Fellowship; he then taught at the college level through the 1980s in Billings, Montana. Thomas served as Dominick Argento’s assistant at the University of Minnesota, where he also taught composition and orchestration, receiving the Ph.D. in 1996. Thomas’s teachers have included composers Argento, Samuel Adler, Robert Morris and Alan Stout, and trumpeters Vincent Cichowicz and Richard Jones. He studied further with David Diamond at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and at the Aspen Festival.
David Evan Thomas has an enduring relationship with the Schubert Club. He served as its first composer-in-residence 1997–2005, received the “An die Musik Award” for outstanding service in 2016, and continues as a program annotator. His notes have appeared in program books for the Minnesota Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Carnegie Hall and the Brevard Festival. Thomas has been associated with Minnesota’s Source Song Festival since its inception, guiding composer participants since 2019 as Composer Mentor. In 2018, Thomas was initiated into Sigma Alpha Iota Fraternity as a National Arts Associate by the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Alumnae Chapter. Katie T. Moss published the first dissertation on Thomas’s work, Of Things Hoped For: the Organ Works of David Evan Thomas, as part of her doctoral work at Indiana University in 2019.
Thomas is a BMI affiliate. He lives in Minneapolis.
Medium Bio (250 words)
The music of David Evan Thomas has been praised for its eloquence, power and craft. A recipient of two McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowships, an Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Möller-A.G.O. Award in Choral Composition, Thomas has received commissions from the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the American Composers Forum and the American Guild of Organists. His music is published by ECS, MorningStar, Augsburg Fortress, Jeanné, Fatrock Ink, Cherry Classics, Classical Vocal Reprints, Tritone-Tenuto, North Star Music and VocalEssence Press.
David Evan Thomas was the first composer-in-residence for the Schubert Club, which recognized him with the An die Musik Award for outstanding service in 2016. He served Westminster Presbyterian Church (Minneapolis) and the Cathedral of Saint Paul through a FaithPartners residency. Other residencies have taken him to the Ucross and Brush Creek Arts Foundations in Wyoming, and to California’s Villa Montalvo.
Recent honors include the VocalEssence Welcome Christmas Carol Contest and the Renée B. Fisher Composer Awards. In 2018, Thomas was initiated into Sigma Alpha Iota Fraternity as a National Arts Associate.
Born in Rochester, New York in 1958, David Evan Thomas received degrees from Northwestern University, Eastman School and the University of Minnesota. His teachers included Dominick Argento, Samuel Adler and Alan Stout, with further study at the Aspen Festival and with David Diamond at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Thomas lives in Minneapolis, where he is also active as a program annotator for the Schubert Club. More: www.davidevanthomas.com.
Mini Bio (79 words)
David Evan Thomas has been honored with two McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowships, an Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and commissions from the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Born in Rochester, New York in 1958, Thomas studied at Northwestern University, Eastman School of Music, and with Dominick Argento at the University of Minnesota. His music is published by ALRY, ECS, MorningStar, Augsburg Fortress, Tritone-Tenuto and several other publishers. Thomas lives in Minneapolis. More: www.davidevanthomas.com.
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