Nigel to be Composer-in-Residence at Middle Tennessee State University School of Music

From 11 – 15 April 2011 Nigel is to be Composer-in-Residence at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). During this residency his violin concerto `Black Fire’ will be performed by the MTSU Wind Ensemble under the baton of Dr Reed Thomas with Peter Sheppard Skaerved performing the virtuosic violin part. More details about this residency will be posted on this site in due course.

MTSU Wind Ensemble

Conducted by Dr Reed Thomas, The MTSU Wind Ensemble is the premier performing ensemble for wind, brass, and percussion students at the university. Members are selected through audition each semester and comprise the best musicians at MTSU. The ensemble explores the vast range of the wind repertoire by utilizing a flexible instrumentation approach where the repertoire dictates the number of players for each piece. The ensemble is dedicated to performing outstanding and challenging works of diverse musical styles while furthering wind music of artistic and historical significance. Performing three to five concerts each semester, they also tour extensively throughout the region. The Wind Ensemble is quickly becoming recognized as one of the outstanding university ensembles in the country and abroad. They have been invited to perform in Thailand, Korea, Japan, and several European countries. Membership is open to all MTSU students.

Dr Reed Thomas, Professor, Director of Bands

Dr. Reed Thomas is the Director of Bands and a full Professor of Music and conducting at Middle Tennessee State University. His responsibilities include conducting the Wind Ensemble and University Chamber Winds, teaching undergraduate courses in conducting and instrumental methods, graduate courses in conducting and wind and orchestral repertoire, and he guides all aspects of MTSU band program. He is the founding conductor of the Three Rivers Wind Symphony, a professional group of wind and percussion players from Northeast Indiana and was the Conductor of the Littleton Chamber Winds in Littleton, Colorado from 1997-99. Additionally, Thomas has been a guest conductor for the Littleton Symphony, the Ft. Wayne Community Orchestra, and several Youth Symphonies in Indiana, Colorado, and Utah.

Thomas is an active conductor and clinician who has received praise and critical acclaim for his artistic interpretations, thorough preparation, and innovative programming. His groups have been invited to perform at venues throughout the United States, China, and South Korea. Beginning in 2002, Thomas began his relationship with bands from Asia and has been invited as a guest conductor and lecturer by the Korean Band Association, the Macau Band Directors Association, the Hong Kong Band Directors Association and the Hong Kong Music Office. In the summer of 2005, the MTSU Wind Ensemble was invited and performed at the Jeju International Band Festival in South Korea and in several cities in South Korea. In 2007, this group has been invited and is scheduled to perform in Hong Kong, Macau, and China.

Thomas is an avid supporter of new music, commissioning over 10 compositions since 2003. He has received critical acclaim from composers such as Shafer Mahoney, Peter Fischer, Jamie Simmons, Robert Bradshaw, and from performers such as Steve Houghton and Eddie Daniels for his interpretive conducting.

A native of Colorado, Thomas received his Ph.D. in Music with an emphasis in conducting from the University of Minnesota and both his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Music Education from the University of Utah. He has studied with such noted conductors as Craig Kirchhoff, John Whitwell, Donald Schleicher, and Loel Hepworth and has studied in master classes with Frederick Fennell, Alan McMurray, Tim Salzman, and Mallory Thompson. He is also an active performer most recently playing clarinet and bass clarinet with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. He is retired from the US Army National Guard where he served for over 20 years as a conductor, clarinet, and saxophone player. Prior to his appointment at MTSU, Thomas held positions as the Director of Instrumental Studies at Indiana-Purdue University Ft. Wayne in Indiana and as the Director of Bands at Adams State College in Colorado and taught at two public high schools in Utah. He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the National Band Association, the Conductors Guild, Music Educators National Conference, Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Kappa Kappa Psi.

Dr Thomas also plans to record Nigel’s `Heritage Suite’ for the Naxos label in December 2010.

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