Hollis Thoms is a Maryland composer of over 125 works for a variety of ensembles. He has a BA from Concordia University Chicago, an MM from Northwestern University, an EdS in educational administration from the University of Toledo, a masters in liberal arts from St. John's College, Annapolis, and finished the course work for the PhD in musical composition from the Eastman School of Music. His principal teachers were Richard Hillert, M. William Karlins, Warren Benson and Samuel Adler.
Hollis has been the recipient of a number of fellowships: the year-long Joseph Kingenstein Fellowship to Columbia University for research and creative work in English and music, writing a 45 minute song-cycle, Sargasso for soprano, cello and piano based on the poetry of Sylvia Plath that was performed at Columbia University during his fellowship year; an Alden B. Dow Creativity Fellowship to write the ballet, Love Journey based on the writings of Dante; was a Fulbright Exchange Teacher to Scotland where he wrote Postcard for orchestra which was later performed by the Northwest Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Paul Vermel; and was selected to participate in the summer seminar for school administrators at Harvard University.
He has written works for a variety of ensembles from solo to orchestral, many on commission, and also for his own professional musician wife, Jacqueline, and children: Dr. Jason Thoms (BA St. Olaf College, MM and DMA, Michigan State University), Dean of Arts and Sciences, director of choral activities and associate professor at Concordia College New York ; daughter-in-law, Treva Foss Thoms, Assistant professor of music and humanities and music department chair, also at Concordia; Sonja (Thoms) Winkler(BM Eastman School of Music, MM Rice University), oboist and conductor, and Senior Director of Operations and Orchestra Manager at the Nashville Symphony; Jonas Thoms(BM Eastman School of Music, MM University of Cincinnati) Assistant professor of horn at West Virginia University.
Hollis Thoms Biography
Pan Pipes Journal, Winter 2016, Volume 108, Number 2 has just published a new article of mine entitled "Pulling Back the Curtains and Opening the Windows Wide." I interviewed my three children who are all professional musicians and educators and wrote an article on the future of classical music in America using their own words. Since I am "retiring" this year after 43 years of composing and over 30 years as an educator and school administrator, I wanted to explore what vision my children had for the future of music. They have some very perceptive comments and I am confident that they are carrying on a commitment to music and education. Jacki and I are proud of their accomplishments and delighted to share their vision with others.
Hollis, Jacqueline and Jonas Thoms presented a session on music in Frederick, Maryland in the 19th century on September 16, 2017 at the Heritage Frederick History Symposium.
Hollis with the conductor and performers of "And did the world with devils swarm, all gaping to devour us..." performed November 4 & 5, 2017 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland. (Recordings from that concert are found on the Musical Examples and New Works pages.)