Ahead of his appearance in Lift Every Voice at the Barbican later this month, the LSO is delighted to announced that leading American specialist in Afro-American Music André J Thomas is named as LSO Associate Artist for a period of three years.
Associate Artist is a new role created by the LSO to sit alongside the LSO’s family of conductors. Associate Artists are musicians with distinct influences, quality and style that add diversity and richness to the LSO, creating their own programmes in collaboration with the Orchestra and contributing to the repertoire choices for other programmes throughout the Season. Conductor and soprano Barbara Hannigan was appointed Associate Artist of the LSO in February 2022.
In May, October and November 2022 André J Thomas conducts the London Symphony Orchestra for two concerts of gospel symphonic music, and a third of pure symphonic music, featuring works by African American composers, Carlos Simon, Wynton Marsalis and Joel Thompson.
André J Thomas said: 'It is a huge honour for me to join LSO family of artists, the audience reception to our gospel and jazz concerts to date has been inspiring, and what is also exciting is the willingness and ease with which the LSO players develop a rapport with this music. I am looking forward to introducing more of the emerging Afro-American composing talent to audiences in the UK, whose influences and references include the great American gospel tradition, which in turn develops a unique African American musical voice.'
Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director of the LSO added: 'It’s a great pleasure to deepen our relationship with André J Thomas as we explore a wider canvas of musical styles. André has been an invaluable source of knowledge in this field, as well as an inspirational choral conductor, composer and educator. As ever LSO musicians and our choral partners thrive on the challenges of playing variety of musical styles.'
About André J Thomas
André J Thomas is Visiting Professor of Conducting at Yale University and the Interim Conductor of the Yale Camerata. He is also Professor Emeritus at Florida State University.
As a choral adjudicator, clinician, and director of Honor/All-State Choirs, he is in demand throughout North America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Australia, and Africa.
Dr Thomas has conducted choirs at the state, division, and national conventions of the National Association for Music Education (NAFME) and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). His international conducting credits are extensive.
Thomas has also distinguished himself as a composer/arranger. He has produced two instructional videos and wrote the book Way Over in Beulah Lan. Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual.
His peers recognized Thomas' dedication to the choral art and accomplishments in the choral arts: Chorus America–Distinguished Service Award, ACDA–Robert Shaw Award, NCCO–Lifetime Achievement Award, and The Florida Music Educators Hall of Fame. In 2022 he received the Award of Excellence from the Southern Region of ACDA
He is the National President of ACDA.
For further information:
Christopher Millard, Head of Press & External Relations
London Symphony Orchestra
Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
Photos on this page © Doug Peters