Professor of Music, emeritus (2018)
Jeffrey Thomas, Professor of Music, is conductor of the UC Davis University Chorus, Alumni Chorus, and Chamber Singers. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 1996, was a recipient of a 2001–06 Chancellor’s Fellowship, is the first holder of the Barbara K. Jackson Chair in Choral Conducting, and was awarded a Bellagio Residency by the Rockefeller Foundation to work on his manuscript Handel’s “Messiah”: A Grand Musical Entertainment.
Professor Thomas is also Artistic and Music Director of theand American Bach Choir, with whom he has directed and conducted recordings of more than 25 cantatas, the Mass in B Minor, the Musical Offering, motets, chamber music, and works by Schütz, Pergolesi, Vivaldi, Haydn, and Beethoven. He has appeared with the Baltimore, Berkeley, Boston, Detroit, Houston, National, Rochester, Minnesota, and San Francisco Symphony orchestras; with the Vienna Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic; with virtually every American Baroque orchestra; and in Austria, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Mexico. He has performed at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Spoleto USA Festival, Ravinia Festival, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Berkeley Festival and Exhibition, Boston Early Music Festival, Bethlehem Bach Festival, Gottingen Festival, Tage Alte Musik Festival in Regensburg, E. Nakamichi Baroque Festival in Los Angeles, the Smithsonian Institution, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, and he has collaborated on several occasions as conductor with the Mark Morris Dance Group.
Before devoting all of his time to conducting, he was one of the first recipients of the San Francisco Opera Company’s prestigious Adler Fellowships. Cited by the Wall Street Journal as “a superstar among oratorio tenors,” Thomas has an extensiveof vocal music that includes dozens of recordings of major works for Decca, EMI, Erato, Koch International Classics, Denon, Harmonia Mundi, Smithsonian, Newport Classics, and Arabesque. Thomas is an avid exponent of contemporary music and has premiered song cycles of several new composers, including two cycles written especially for him. He has performed lieder recitals at the Smithsonian, song recitals at various universities, and appeared with his own vocal chamber music ensemble, “L’Aria Viva!”
Educated at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard School of Music, with further studies in English literature at Cambridge University, he has taught at the Amherst Early Music, Oberlin College Conservatory Baroque Performance Institute, San Francisco Early Music Society, and Southern Utah Early Music Workshops. Formerly on the faculty of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he has presented master classes at the New England Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, SUNY at Buffalo, Swarthmore College, and Washington University.