Conducting and Composition
Virginia Allen, Conducting
Virginia Allen is a faculty member at The Juilliard School and Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City and The Curtis Institute of Music and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is also Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Wind Symphony and Artistic Director of Juilliard's Conducting Workshop for Music Educators. At Juilliard she previously served as Associate Dean for Administration, taught conducting, co-founded and conducted The Juilliard Trombone Choir, and served as Executive Director of the Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies. She has also served as Artistic Director of the Sun Valley Summer Music Workshops in Idaho, where she founded and conducted the Sun Valley Youth Orchestra.
Prior to teaching on the college level, Virginia enjoyed a 20-year career as a conductor and administrator in the U.S. Army Bands Program and achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. As a pioneer for women in military bands she was the first woman to command and conduct an active duty military band that included women when she was appointed Principal Conductor of The U.S. Army Forces Command Band in Atlanta. As the Associate Conductor of The U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point, she was the first woman conductor of that historic organization, as well as the Cadet Glee Club and Cadet Band. She also performed on stages from the Hollywood Bowl to Europe as the first woman conductor of the Army's premier touring ensembles from Washington, D.C., The U.S. Army Field Band and The Soldiers' Chorus. Her military career included an assignment as the Department of the Army Staff Bands Officer in Washington, D.C., where she managed over 100 Army bands and band activities worldwide.
Virginia frequently guest conducts, adjudicates and teaches master classes in the U.S. and internationally. She conducted Joseph Alessi, Principal Trombonist of the New York Philharmonic, and The Juilliard Trombone Choir on a compact disc recording released by the International Trombone Association in 1999 and now available as Beyond the End of the Century through Summit Records. Virginia collaborated with Mr. Alessi again another Summit recording, Trombonastics.
As a composer and arranger, her music has been premiered, performed and recorded by members of the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Washington Opera Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, The Juilliard Trombone Choir, The U.S. Army Band, The U.S. Army Field Band, and The U.S. Military Academy Band. Her music has been published by Carl Fischer, Southern Music, Ludwig Music, and TRN Music. A member of ASCAP, she is a former for the Conductors Guild and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE).
Virginia studied French horn and conducting and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Music degree in Performance from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and a Diploma in Wind Conducting from the University of Calgary. She earned a Doctor of Education in the College Teaching of Music at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City, where her dissertation topic was Developing Expertise in Professional American Orchestra Conductors. Virginia also completed an internship in Performance Activities at Juilliard
Richard Pearson Thomas, Composition
He is a recipient of an American Composers' Forum Continental Harmony commission for the Alabama Tri-State Orchestra as well as commissions from the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, the Empire State Youth Orchestra, and the Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra. His work Race for the Sky, which was commissioned as a commemoration of the events of 9/11, has been performed by the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra and in recitals nationwide. Chamber music by Mr. Thomas has been performed by The Music of the Spheres Society, South Country Concerts, and recorded by violinist Stephanie Chase at the National Arts Club for broadcast on NPR's Performance Today
Mr. Thomas's musical Parallel Lives was produced Off-Off Broadway by the Riverside Opera Ensemble, as was Ladies in a Maze, produced by Encompass Music Theatre. His musical Golden Gate, winner of the Michael Stewart Foundation Award, was presented in concert version by the Monmouth Civic Chorus. His original music for In Thinking of America: Songs of the Civil War has been heard in more than 140 cities.
Mr. Thomas is currently on faculty at Teachers College/Columbia University and has taught at Yale and the University of Central Florida. As composer-in-residence of the Gold Opera Project, he has composed more than 90 operas with students in New York City public schools. His work with children was featured on CBS's "The Early Show," and singled out for praise by President Clinton.
As pianist, Mr. Thomas has concertized with singers worldwide. He is a member of the South Country Concerts chamber music ensemble on Long Island, and is music advisor for the Phoenix Quartet.
He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Southern California, and is a native of Montana.