He is a composer, orchestrator,
arranger, pianist and teacher who was a pianist by
the time he was just ten years old.
He began composing when he was fifteen and took studies with Nadia Boulanger when he was a teenager. When he was 16 he attended the
Juilliard School of Music and became the first to be awarded a doctorate
Since his first libretto and music written for The Trysting Place at Juilliard, many
of his compositions have concentrated on operatic music and in 1972 his The Seagull became the work that he
is possibly identified with. Others
of his 22 operas to date include Before
Breakfast, Black Widow, Calvary, Frau Margot, The Goose Girl, The Hotel
Casablanca, La Divina, Maria Elena, Signor Deluso and Three
His other works for orchestra, soloists and chamber
ensembles known from the late 1960s include Invocation, Serenade for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, three
concertos, five sonatas, a quartet for flute and strings, works for piano,
clarinet and violin.
He has composer literally hundreds of songs, over 400
by the time he was eighteen, and written many vocal arrangements for choirs
and solo voice.
In 1980 he accepted the position of Artistic Director
of the Atlantic Opera and remained there until relocating to California.
Although writing 22 operas he has also worked on more
than 100 film orchestrations with his own Topaz Productions which he
established after moving to Los Angeles
in 1984. His work in the movies
can be heard on many film soundtracks that include American Beauty, Erin Brokovitch, Dirty
Rotten Scoundrels, Finding Nemo, Fried Green
Tomatoes, The Green Mile, The Horse Whisperer, Legends of the Fall, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, The
Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors, Magnolia, The Mask of Zorro, Meet
Joe Black, Oscar and Lucinda, The Pagemaster, Pay
It Forward, The Pelican Brief, Primary Colors, Road
to Perdition, The Salton Sea, Scent of a Woman and The Shawshank
Redemption and Sommersby
to name just a few.
Returning to New York
in 2003 he has since returned to his career in concert and operatic productions.
His ties with the Juilliard
School remained when he became
a teacher of composition there along with also teaching at Cincinnati
University-Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan School of Music.
Thomas Hampson recordings
Adeste Fidelis (John Francis Wade)
Teldec 9031-73135 (CD:
Christmas with Thomas Hampson)
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra