Now Reading: An Interview With Adam Thomas of the Louisville Civic Orchestra


An Interview With Adam Thomas of the Louisville Civic Orchestra

Hey, y’all! At Notable Kentucky, we love featuring conversations with Notable Kentuckians. A prime example? Those behind the Louisville Civic Orchestra, an organization that significantly adds to the arts culture in the region. I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Thomas, the Assistant Conductor for the LCO. I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did!

An Interview With Adam Thomas of the Louisville Civic Orchestra

Louisville Civic Orchestra, Adam Thomas

Adam, congrats on being named Assistant Conductor for the Louisville Civic Orchestra! For those unfamiliar, tell them about the LCO.

The Louisville Civic Orchestra is an ensemble of people from all walks of life. Our membership includes musicians from all professions: teachers, medical professionals, students, and more! The wonderful thing about the LCO is that it keeps music in the lives of each of its members, no matter what their day job is. It gives them the opportunity to play some of the finest music ever written for the orchestra and to share that music with audiences in a series of free concerts each season.

 What does your new role entail?

 I love that the title “Assistant Conductor” has the word “assist” in it, because I see this role as an opportunity to help, whether it’s the orchestra, our music director, or our audience! Each conductor inherently brings their own experiences and backgrounds to share with musicians and audience members alike, so I’m happy to provide perspectives to the ensemble that complement those of Maestro Gabriel Lefkowitz. He’s a talented and in-demand musician, so I can also step in to occasionally lead rehearsals when he is unavailable. And I’m thrilled for the chance to conduct from the podium in concert; it was an honor to lead the orchestra on the suite from “It’s A Wonderful Life” during our recent holiday program.

 Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background in music.

 I’m originally from Henderson, Kentucky; I started playing clarinet there 25 years ago and picked up the saxophone, as well. I earned two degrees in music education at the University of Louisville before becoming the band director at Henderson County High School. I returned to UofL for a Masters in Conducting and later began working for the Louisville Orchestra, where I now serve as the Director of Operations. I have been a member of Chamber Winds Louisville/The Louisville Concert Band for 14 years. I began playing percussion with the Louisville Civic Orchestra a year ago, which I still do when not conducting. I have also been a member of the Chamber Music Society of Louisville Board for a year.

 What makes Louisville a great place to call home for a musician like yourself?

Louisville is such an arts-driven city. It’s full of opportunities for everyone to have music in their lives. The ensembles I perform with, the Civic Orchestra and Chamber Winds Louisville, are just two of many community bands and orchestras in town. We have so many organizations that provide high-quality arts performances to attend: The Louisville Orchestra, Broadway in Louisville, the Ballet, the Opera, and UofL’s School of Music. High-quality musical artists visit Louisville all the time to perform at the Kentucky Center, The Yum Center, Churchill Downs, The Palace, and so many more. We are not lacking in incredible music and arts performances here in Louisville.

 Do you have a favorite orchestra memory?

Much of my inspiration and motivation in music has come from listening to the music of legendary film composer John Williams. My first instrumental album to ever own was a Star Wars score. The first time I ever played with an orchestra included music from Star Wars. But probably my favorite orchestra memory was the third time I had the chance to see Mr. Williams conduct in person. When I was the band director at Henderson County High School, I brought about 90 students and parents up to hear the Louisville Orchestra play under his baton. I had never heard any orchestra play so wonderfully, it was programmed with all his greatest hits, and it was just so special to share it with my students (and everyone else in the completely full Whitney Hall).

 You’re from Henderson, a community that I really enjoy visiting when in Western KY. What’s your favorite part about living in Louisville now?

 Henderson and Louisville have two very key things in common: music and family. I already mentioned Louisville’s vast musical landscape, but Henderson also has a huge appreciation for music (the W.C. Handy Jazz Festival is one of our claims to fame), and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the incredible music education I received in both Henderson and Louisville. Though I was born in Henderson, my family’s roots are in Louisville, and I’m also really grateful for the family of colleagues and friends that I’ve created in both cities. I’m so happy that my two homes are connected in these ways.

 Lastly, any insight or sneak peeks into what we can expect from the LCO this year?

 We’ve had a thrilling season so far that has included music from fairy tales, a Holiday Pops concert, and great symphonies performed in tribute to healthcare heroes. We’ve got one more concert ahead, which features the music of American composers from Florence Price to Samuel Barber. You’ll also hear music from my three favorite composers of all time: George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and of course, John Williams!

Louisville Civic Orchestra

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    An Interview With Adam Thomas of the Louisville Civic Orchestra

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