Karen P. Thomas, Conductor & Artistic Director
Karen P. Thomas has served as the artistic director and conductor of Seattle Pro Musica since 1987. With Seattle Pro Musica, she has produced seven critically-acclaimed commercial CD recordings, and has received both the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and the ASCAP-Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. She has appeared as guest conductor at the Bergen International Festival, the International Conference on Women in Music, the Alliance World Festival of Women’s Singing, Festival Vancouver in Canada, the NPR radio show Saint Paul Sunday, the American Guild of Organists National Convention, and the American Choral Directors Association NW Division Convention, among numerous others. Ms. Thomas has presented lectures for the American Guild of Organists National Convention, the Chorus America National Convention, the American Choral Directors Association, and the World Festival of Women’s Singing. A review of Ms. Thomas’ CD with Seattle Pro Musica, Alnight by the Rose, in Choir & Organ Magazine (Great Britain) remarks: “...there is great depth and purity in this performance...Seattle Pro Musica presents a cappella singing at its best.” American Record Guide describes her CD Peace in Our Time as “probing and radiant...vibrant and gutsy...with warmth and emotional punch.” Her conducting has received critical praise for “integrity and high purpose...delivered with taste and impeccable musicianship...” and she has been lauded for her “charismatic...magnetic podium presence.”
Ms. Thomas' compositions are regularly performed and broadcast throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, including the International Festival Donne in Musica in Italy, the Bergen International Festival in Norway, the International Congresses on Women in Music in London and Spain, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Alliance World Festival of Women’s Singing, and the Goodwill Arts Festival in the U.S. Her works are performed by groups such as The Hilliard Ensemble, The Vocal Consort of Brussels, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and have been praised as “superb work of the utmost sensitivity and beauty.”
Ms. Thomas is a recipient of individual and organizational grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New Langton Arts, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the Nesholm Foundation, the Seattle Arts Commission, 4Culture, Meet the Composer, and the Washington State Arts Commission. She has received fellowships from Artist Trust and the Washington State Arts Commission, and was a fellow at the Oregon Bach Festival, Dorland Arts Colony, and Chorus of Westerly. Her compositions have been awarded prizes in various competitions including the ASCAP Competition, Roger Wagner Competition, His Majestie's Clerkes, Melodious Accord, and the International Alliance for Women in Music. Her commissions include works for the Grand Jubilee 2000 in Rome, the American Guild of Organists, and the Goodwill Arts Festival, among numerous others. In 1998, she received the first Distinguished Alumna Award from Cornish College of the Arts.
She currently serves on the Pacific NW Chapter Board of Governors for the Recording Academy (GRAMMY), the Northwest Division board of the American Choral Director’s Association, the board of the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium, and the Advisory Board of the Seattle Girls' Choir. She has served on the faculties of Pacific Lutheran University, Evergreen State College, Cornish College, and Edmonds Community College; and is the Music Director of a comprehensive music program at University Unitarian Church. She has studied and participated in Master Classes with Sir David Willcocks, Arvo Pärt, Peter Phillips, Dale Warland, Jacob Druckman, Leon Kirchner, William Kraft, Ned Rorem, Helmuth Rilling, William Bergsma, Tonu Kaljuste, Simon Carrington, and Gregg Smith.