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David Thomas (Bass)

Born: February 26, 1943 - Orpington, Kent, England

The English bass, David Thomas (Lionel Mercer), began singing as a boy chorister in the choir of St. Paulís Cathedral in London. Later he was educated in Kingís School, Canterbury, and as a teenager won a choral scholarship to Kingís College, Cambridge.

David Thomas first gained recognition as a soloist with Rooleyís Consort of Musicke, Christopher Hogwoodís Academy of Ancient Music, and other early music groups in England. Subsequently he appeared throughout Europe. In 1982 he made his USA debut at the Hollywood Bowl. In later years, he pursued an international career.

David Thomas won particular distinction for his performances of works by Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Mozart. His repertoire ranges from the Baroque and Classical, in which he has largely specialised, to William Walton, Tippet, Benjamin Britten, Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg and Schnittke. His career has taken him to Europe, USA and Japan and he has appeared at many prestigious festivals including Tanglewood, Salzburg, Edingburgh, Luzerne, Stuttgart, Aldeburgh and the BBC Promenade concerts.

David Thomas has appeared with many of the major symphony orchestras and ensembles in the UK, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, London Classical Players, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Northern Sinfonia, Taverner Consort, Academy of Ancient Music and London Baroque, and he has worked regularly with conductors such as Simon Rattle, John Eliot Gardiner, Nicholas McGegan and Christopher Hogwood. Notable engagements in the UK include a television recording of L.v. Beethovenís 9th Symphony with the London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington, G.F. Handelís Orlando at the Proms conducted by Christopher Hogwood and Die Schöpfung with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Frans Brüggen. He gives regular concerts with soprano Emma Kirkby and lutenist Anthony Rooley. He sang Sarasto in the Covent Garden Festivalís production of Die Zauberflöte and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni and General Spork in Cornet Cristoph Rilkeís Song of Love and Death for Glyndebourne Touring Opera.

David Thomas appears frequently in Europe, especially with the Academy of Ancient Music. Other engagements have included J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) performances in Leipzig and Berlin, a series of Messiahs in Italy and concerts with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Fundaçao de Sao Carlos in Lisbon, the Wiener Akademie, with the Kammerchor Stuttgart in concerts in Göttingen, and G.F. Handelís Serse and Resurrezione in Brighton and Göttingen.

Performances last season included concerts in Switzerland, France and Germany with the Academy of Ancient Music, concerts in Sweden and Boston (USA). His engagements in the USA have included Messiah with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the Hollywood Bowl, The Creation with Boston Symphony Orchestra and Simon Rattle, Messiah at the Lincoln Center with the Academy of Ancient Music, Schubertís Winterreise at Cornell at University and G.F. Handelís Judas Maccabaeus, Susanna and Theodora with the Philharmonia Baroque and Nicholas McGegan.

David Thomas' many recordings include G.F. Handelís Serse (Hanover Band/Nicholas McGegan), G.F. Handelís Susanna, Apollo and Daphne and Judas Maccabeus (Philharmonia Baroque/Nicholas McGegan), G.F. Handelís Semele, Purcellís Fairy Queen and J.S. Bachís Magnificat (BWV 243) (Monteverdi Choir/English Baroque Soloists/ John Eliot Gardiner), G.F. Handelís Acis, Galatea e Polifemo (London Baroque/ Charles Medlam), G.F. Handelís Messiah and Israel in Egypt, J.S. Bach's B Minor Mass (BWV 232) and St. John Passion (BWV 245) (Taverner Consort & Players/Andrew Parrot), Coffee Cantata (BWV 211) with Emma Kirkby, Mozartís Requiem (The Hanover Band/ Roy Goodman), I. Stravinskyís Pulcinella (City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox) and Die Schöpfung (City of Birmingham Orchestra/ Simon Rattle). Gramophone said of his solo disc of G.F. Handel Arias with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, ďThomas has a formidable range, a dazzling technique and a tone that is full and dark, yet always clearly defined.Ē

Source: Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); Allied Artists Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2001)

David Thomas: Short Biography | General Discussions

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Stephen Cleobury


BWV 244

John Eliot Gardiner


BWV 243

Christopher Hogwood


BWV 211, BWV 212

Gustav Leonhardt


BWV 205, BWV 214

Hans-Martin Linde


BWV 201

Andrew Parrott


BWV 4, BWV 82, BWV 232, BWV 245

Simon Preston


BWV 243a

Helmuth Rilling


BWV 244

Links to other Sites

David Thomas (Allied Artists)

David Thomas: Discography

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