Hollis Thoms, Composer
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Musical Compositions
Upcoming and Recent Musical Compositions and Performances:

​May 13, 2017, 7:30pm:

The Daraja Ensemble will perform Variations (1993) for woodwind quintet at the May 13, 2017 Baltimore Composers Forum concert at Christ Lutheran Church Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland: Grace Ju-Yeon Wang, flute; Michael Homme, oboe; Michele Von Haugg, clarinet; Joshua Blumenthal, horn; and Sam Fraser, bassoon. This work has been performed three times in the past by Ethos Chamber Ensemble (Oak Park, Illinois), Tranquil Winds (Glendale, California), and an ensemble at Eastman School of Music (Rochester, New York).

​You can view this performance here.

September 16, 2017 

Hollis Thoms will present a lecture, "Sauntering to Discovery: The Engelbrecht Family Musical Legacy" at a symposium presented by Heritage Frederick, "Five Centuries of Musical Traditions in Frederick County". Hollis' talk is based on the diaries of Jacob Engelbrecht (1797-1878), a significant Frederick citizen, tailor, band musician, lead chorister and mayor.  He will provide a recorded realization from a "Star Spangled Banner" manuscript of Engelbrecht's son, Phillipp, written for the 1876 US Centennial.  Jonas Thoms will demonstrate a French horn similar to the one played by Engelbrecht, and Jacqueline Thoms will be heard in a recording of an organ composition by Engelbrecht's nephew, John Conrad, as it might have been originally performed at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Frederick.  Here is a link to more information about the symposium: 

November 5, 2017: Link to information about tickets to this performance: bachinbaltimore.org​

The Bach Concert Series under the direction of T. Herbert Dimmock will premiere "And did the world with devils swarm, all gaping to devour us..." a 40-minute one act opera commemorating the 500th anniversary of the nailing of the 95 theses by Martin Luther as part of its 2017-2018 concert series. The work will be performed at St. Stephens Cathedral in Harrisburg and Christ Lutheran Church Inner Harbor, Baltimore. Jason Thoms (photo left) will be featured as Luther and Sarah Bleasdale (photo right) as Katie. Playing in the chamber ensemble is Sonja (Thoms) Winkler, oboe and Jonas Thoms, horn. The premiere is underwritten by The Christopher Foundation.

The opera takes place sometime in October 1525. Luther is celebrating the eighth year since posting the 95 theses. He has just finished a few years where he wrote 40 hymns. He is the most popular author in Germany and the world. He has just gotten married to Katie, a former nun. He is seemingly obsessed with the devils around him, real and imaginary. He is in the midst of writing a response to Erasmus on the Freedom of the Will and has just gone through the Peasants' Revolt, being blamed in part for the turmoil caused by his writings. The opera takes place as Luther is dealing with all these things and the highpoint of the opera is when wife Katie reveals to him that she is pregnant with their first child, a turning point in their lives.


Music, Gettysburg! will present songs by Composers Garth Baxter and Hollis Thoms during their 2018-2019 concert series. Among my songs to be presented are:

Three African American Songs:

"within music there is silence within love there is loneliness" (2016) for tenor and piano is based on three love poems by E. Ethelbert Miller and was premiered by the Baltimore Composers Forum, November 19, 2016.

"Sweetness of Youth" (2017) for baritone and piano is based on the short play "The Janitor" (1985) by August Wilson and can be sung as a song or as an "opera within a song". The Wilson work is a very short monologue by Sam, a janitor, who while cleaning up a hall that will be the site for a youth conference, speaks to an imaginary youth audience about the "sweetness of youth." 

"...I am not your slave" (2017) for tenor, baritone and piano is based on a letter sent by Frederick Douglass to his former slave owner.