Alan Thomas’s compositions and performances have been praised by Classical Guitar magazine as “the best of what’s being written for the contemporary guitar.” Born in Atlanta, Alan grew up playing a variety of guitar styles ranging from folk to heavy metal, but it was a love of the unique voice of the classical guitar that really captured his imagination. This path eventually led him to attain the Master of Music degree at Indiana University under the direction of the great Argentinian guitarist Ernesto Bitetti. From there he went on to numerous competition successes, including winning top prizes at the Guitar Foundation of America, the USA Music Teachers National Association and the American Artistic Ambassador competitions.
Moving to England in 1997, Alan quickly established himself as one of Europe's foremost new music soloists and ensemble players following his first-prize win at the Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in Holland (becoming the only guitarist ever to take the top prize). Since then he has pursued an active career as a recitalist and concerto soloist, performing in concert series and festivals throughout the U.K., Europe and the USA. In addition to his solo performances, Alan is in also demand as a chamber and session musician, performing with groups such as the Graham Fitkin Band, Apartment House and Lontano as well as with recording artists including Joe McElderry and Katherine Jenkins.
Alan’s debut solo CD Aurora (featuring works by Bach, Ysaye, Rodrigo and Satie) was followed up in 2004 with The Long and Winding Road--a critically acclaimed 2 CD set of Lennon/McCartney arrangements. His most recent release is a CD of his own compositions for guitar, harp and live computer processing called Elusive Symmetry.
Alan’s compositions focus on the guitar in both solo and chamber music settings, drawing freely on a broad range of styles and techniques, ranging from Renaissance polyphony to Ligeti and other modern masters (passing via a quasi-obsession with Rachmaninoff along the way!). Other influences include the music of Africa and the Balkans, as well as computer sound processing and algorhythmic composition. From these diverse sources he has attempted to create music that is both rigorously constructed and accessible. His compositions have been performed around the world by artists such as Denis Azabagic, harpist Eleanor Turner, soprano Juliet Fraser, the Cavatina Duo, La Catrina String Quartet, Chicago Symphony String Quartet, Helix Ensemble, Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra and many others, and he has been the featured composer at festivals including “Guitar Art” (Serbia), Calcutta Guitar Festival, Sarajevo Guitar Festival and the Cheltenham Guitar Festival. For more details please
visit the compositions page.
In addition to
teaching masterclasses at conservatoires and festivals throughout the world,
Alan has taught at the University of California and Trinity College of Music,
and is currently on the music faculties of the University
of York, Loughborough University and the Loughborough Music School. He is an external examiner at both
Leeds College of Music and the University of Huddersfield, and is regularly
invited to sit on performance and composition competition juries. He also
does a limited amount of private teaching of guitar, composition and theory--click
for more info.
For a condensed "fact sheet", click here.