CCM Professor Emeritus Elmer Thomas; photo by Sandy Underwood

CCM Professor Emeritus Elmer Thomas; photo by Sandy Underwood

On Sunday, Oct. 24, CCM’s Choral Studies Program presents a very special concert event. “Elmer Thomas’ 80th Birthday Concert” celebrates CCM Professor Emeritus and Choral Studies-founder Elmer Thomas. Thomas was a member of CCM’s faculty from 1966-1995, elevating the Choral Studies Program to international recognition during that time. His birthday concert will feature the CCM Chamber Choir and Chorale, UC Men’s and Women’s Choruses, Cincinnati Children’s Choir and Vocal Arts Ensemble performing a variety of choral classics. Earl Rivers, Brett Scott, Brandon Dean, Olga Artemova, Robyn Lana and Stephanie Nash conduct.

“The legacy of Thomas’ mastery of the craft of music making, his performances, teaching and leadership, and his ability to inspire musicians to reach their potential has been felt by all of us who have studied with him and performed under his direction,” writes current director of Choral Studies Earl Rivers.

Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for non-UC students (UC students are free). The audience is invited to join in the concert finale, the third movement of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, with Thomas conducting.

Performance Date:
Sunday, Oct. 24, 3 p.m.

Corbett Auditorium, College-Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati

About Elmer Thomas
Elmer Robert Thomas was born on October 24, 1930 in Carlsbad, NM. He attended the College of Idaho from 1948 to 1950, served in the US Army for 1950 to 1952, returned to the Albertson College of Idaho and earned the degree Bachelor of Arts in Music in 1956. In 1958 he completed the degree Master of Music at the University of Michigan. From 1958 to 1963 he taught at the Albertson College of Idaho where he was Director of Choral Activities and teacher of Music Literature and History. In 1963 he went to the University of Illinois School of Music where he earned the degree Doctor of Musical Arts.

From 1966 to 1995 Dr. Thomas conducted and taught at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati where he built one of the leading choral programs in the United States and an extensive graduate program for conductors. Dr. Thomas is recognized internationally for his conducting of major works for orchestra and chorus, and for teaching aspiring young conductors the aesthetics of interpretation and analytical skills for conductors. He frequently presents guest lectures on the music and theology in Bach’s passion settings.During his tenure at CCM, he served in several administrative positions.

As Conductor of Choruses for the Cincinnati May Festival, Dr. Thomas worked with many of the world’s leading conductors (Bernstein, Shaw, Levine, Conlon, Rudolf, Gielen, Rudel, Schippers, Nelson). He was Founder and Music Director of The Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati and was Director of Music at Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church. Dr. Thomas spent a recent sabbatical leave reading and studying at Christ Church, Oxford University.

Dr. Thomas is a frequent guest conductor in the United States, Europe, England, Hong Kong, Korea and Central America. He has conducted concerts at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, N.Y. and has been the guest conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Civic Symphony, Szczecin Philharmonic (Poland), Lincoln Philharmonic and the Boise Philharmonic. Dr. Thomas was the first EXXON-Affiliate Artist Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He conducted performances of Beethoven’s Symphony IX in Poland just after the Berlin Wall fell and has led concert tours in England, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the Baltic States, Russia and Sweden. He frequently travels to Costa Rica and Venezuela to conduct concerts, coach vocal soloists and teach conductors. In 1995, Dr. Thomas conducted the Bach Messe in H-Moll for the Central Division ACDA in Chicago and during 1996, he conducted the Brahms Ein Deutches Requiem at Illinois Wesleyan University and the Bach Johannes-Passion for the Central ACDA Convention in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Of the numerous awards received by Dr. Thomas, two from Idaho institutions are cherished personally:  the degree Doctor of Humane Letters from The College of Idaho in 1987 and Idaho Artist Centennial Homecoming Governor’s Award in 1990.

During the last several years, Dr. Thomas has served as an Executive Assistant to Robert L. Hendren Jr., President of The College of Idaho, working primarily with the faculty of the Music Department and to develop the new Langroise Center for the Performing Arts. He recently was elected to The College of Idaho Board of Trustees. Dr. Thomas continues to be an active volunteer in Cincinnati arts organizations.

Most recently, Dr. Thomas has been a guest lecturer at The College-Conservatory of Music, Ball State University, The University of Arizona (Tucson) and Westminster Choir College. He conducted, with Dr. Joe Miller a concert at Westminster Choir College and has been a guest conductor of The Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati.


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