Biography

Richard Pearson Thomas,

composer and pianist, has had works performed by the Boston Pops, Covent Garden Festival, Houston Grand Opera, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Chautauqua Opera, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Banff Centre, Portland Opera, Skylight Opera Theatre, and Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir. His songs have been sung in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Merkin Concert Hall, Wigmore Hall, Joe’s Pub, Le Poisson Rouge, and before the U.S. Congress by artists such as Audra McDonald, Sanford Sylvan, Lauren Flanigan, John Muriello and Kurt Ollmann. He is a frequent collaborator with The Mirror Visions Ensemble which performs his commissioned works in the United States and Europe.

He is a recipient of an American Composers’ Forum Continental Harmony commission for the Alabama Tri-State Orchestra as well as commissions from The Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, the Empire State Youth Orchestra, Lebanon Valley College Orchestra, The United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, and the Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra. His work Race for the Sky, which was commissioned as a commemoration of the events of 9/11, has been performed by the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra and in recitals nationwide and abroad including in the Sydney Opera House.

Chamber music by Mr. Thomas has been performed by Sybarite 5, Five Boroughs Music Festival, Duo Terlano, Trillium Ensemble, Music of the Spheres Society, South Country Concerts, and recorded by violinist Stephanie Chase at the National Arts Club for broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today. Mr. Thomas’s work Singing like the larks for mezzo-soprano and piano quintet was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2014 MTNA Distinguished Composers competition.

The Nero Show! a quasi-operatic vaudeville cabaret show, commissioned by Bruce Rameker, was premiered in 2019 at the Triad Theater in New York City. Mr. Thomas’s comic opera, A Wake or a Wedding, was commissioned and premiered by the California State University at Fullerton Opera Theatre and produced by Encompass New Opera Theatre in New York City. His opera Parallel Lives was produced Off-Off Broadway by the Riverside Opera Ensemble, as was Ladies in a Maze, produced by Encompass Music Theatre. His musical Golden Gate, winner of the Michael Stewart Foundation Award, was presented in concert version by the Monmouth Civic Chorus. Original music for In Thinking of America: Songs of the Civil War has been heard in more than 150 cities nationwide. Excerpts from his opera Blood of Angels were presented by Encompass New Opera Theatre on the Opera Index Page to Stage Series. He has composed incidental music for productions at Chicago’s Center Theatre and SHAPE Players in Belgium.

As pianist, Mr. Thomas has concertized with singers and chamber musicians worldwide.

Mr. Thomas is currently on faculty at Columbia University Teachers College. He has taught at Yale and the University of Central Florida. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Southern California, and is a native of Montana.