William Thomas

William E. Thomas has been the Music Director of the Cambridge Community Chorus since its inception in 1990. On the faculty of the Music Department at Phillips Academy, Andover, he was Department Chair from 1975 to 1990, and is currently Director of Performance. He serves as Director of the Phillips Academy Cantata Choir and the Academy Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. He has directed concert tours with these organizations throughout Europe, the United States, and Asia. This year Mr. Thomas also became the Artistic Director for Project STEP, an organization that provides string instrument training to Greater Boston's community of African-American and Latino children.

Mr. Thomas has done extensive research on the music of the African-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, leading to American premieres of the composer's opera Dreamlovers, A Piano Quintet, and Nonet. Other performances of Coleridge-Taylor's works by Mr. Thomas have included appearances at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the New England Conservatory of Music, the African Meeting House, and WGBH-FM. He is cellist and founding member of the Coleridge Ensemble. The Ensemble is dedicated to the performance and recording of compositions by black, African-American, and women composers. The Ensemble has released a world premiere CD of Coleridge-Taylor's chamber works and another featuring the world premiere of string quartets by Chevalier de Saint-Georges. An additional project featuring music of African-American composers Florence Price and William Grant Still is planned for the future.

Thomas' work has been supported by grants from the Ratshesky Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Lumkin Foundation, Kenan Grant, the Massachusetts Arts Council, and the Abbot Academy Association. In 1997, Mr. Thomas was appointed recipient of the Frederick W. Binecke Teaching Foundation. His goals of musical growth, cultural interchange, and nurturance of the spirit are shared abundantly and tirelessly with the Chorus.

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