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Andrew Thomas papers

 Collection — Box: 1-4 0299-SCPA
This collection consists of Andrew Thomas’s (b. 1939) scores -- both published and unpublished -- as well as material relating to the scores, including poems used for song lyrics or research accumulated for commissions. The materials date from 1956 through 1990, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1960 to 1985. Many of the scores are not listed in his catalogue and thus present a body of composition not ordinarily apparent to musicians and researchers. Altogether, the papers record the influences, interests, and thought processes of the composer.

This collection consists of Andrew Thomas’s holograph, facsimile, print masters, and published scores as well as material relating to the compositions, including poems used for song lyrics or research accumulated for commissions. The materials date from 1956 through 1990, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1960 to 1985. Further scores and historic files pertaining to Thomas are found in the American Composers Alliance official records and score collection.


  • 1920-2010

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright was not transferred to the University of Maryland with the physical gift of the scores. The composer or his publishers retain any copyright possessed in the collection. The University of Maryland Libraries is granted permission for the use in scholarly research by the Libraries’ patrons under fair use in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act.


49 Scores (5 boxes located at GG2-6)

.75 Linear Feet : Papers

Biographical / Historical

Andrew Thomas (b. 1939) is an American composer recognized for his works for marimba, his relationship with Chinese musical culture, and his cultivation of embodiment and theatricality in his works. Although trained to write atonal and 12-tone music, his mature musical language is described as expansive, encompassing chromaticism and dissonance while maintaining tonal grounding. Thomas is influenced by world music cultures, poems and literary fragments, as well as something he terms "body awareness." His composition teachers included Karel Husa, Nadia Boulanger, Burrill Phillips, Otto Luening, Luciano Berio, and Elliott Carter. Among his most notable pieces are those written for marimba including Merlin, Three Transformations, The Great Spangled Fritillary, and a concerto, Loving Mad Tom. Several other works were inspired by Thomas's close study of world culture, especially his interest in the far east. During the early 2000s Thomas participated in an exchange with the Guangxi Arts College in Nanning, China. There he performed, coached, and taught. One result of the visits to China was a collaboration with Thoma's spouse, Howard Kessler on a ballet, Focus of the Heart, scored for full traditional Chinese Orchestra and full Western symphony orchestra.

Thomas has spent most of his career at Julliard, where he earned M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in composition. He remained at the institution to teach in the pre-college division, where he served as chairman of the composition department from 1969 to 1994 and as director of the pre-college division from 1994 to 2006. Now retired, he continues to hold the title "Director Emeritus" at Julliard. He currently lives in New York, although he travels around the world to teach and present his music. Thomas was elected to membership in the American Composers Alliance in 1975, and remains an active member of the organization as of 2019.
Andrew Thomas papers
Christina Taylor Gibson
February 2019
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States