Andrew William Thomas, born in upstate N.Y., studied with Karel Husa at Cornell University, with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in composition from Juilliard, where he studied with Luciano Berio, Elliot Carter, and Otto Luening. He taught and was the chairman of the Composition Department at the Pre-College Division at Juilliard from 1969-1994. In addition to composing, Thomas performs as a pianist, conductor, and is a guest teacher throughout the world. His many awards include a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Distinguished Teacher Citation from the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. Many soloists, chamber organizations, and orchestras have recorded Thomas’s music in the U.S. and abroad.
Although he has taught throughout the world, he has become a regular guest of the People’s Republic of China since 2000. Under the auspices of the Chinese Government, Thomas performed his composition for solo piano in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. He was the head western judge of a panel of pianists from all over the world judging the 2000 Chinese Works Piano Competition. He was honored as the main Western speaker at a conference of middle school administrators and government officials from all parts of China. In an effort to upgrade music education throughout China, Thomas developed a program which brought together music academies in an effort to advance all the students’ technical and artistic abilities in Western as well as Asian music. He has begun a music library, now the largest in South China, in Nanning at the Guangxi Arts College. In April 2004, he conducted the Shanghai Conservatory Youth Orchestra and the Nanning Symphony in a three concerto evening with student soloists from Shanghai, Nanning, and Juilliard. Thomas lectured, taught, and performed in Korea at a music festival that he co- directed. This festival, the Seoul Music Festival and Academy brings together Western and Korean teachers to perform and to teach advanced string and piano students. In October 2004, Thomas played a piano recital at Juilliard celebrating his 65th birthday, 35 years teaching at the Juilliard School, and ten years as its Pre-College director. After twelve years, he stepped down from his administrative position in 2006 to concentrate on composing and to teach his private students. He is Director Emeritus of the Pre-College Division.