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Thomas Folan (Conductor)

Born: USA

The American conductor and teacher, Thomas Folan, holds a Bachelor of Music (Music History and Piano, 1985) degree from Oberlin College and a Bachelor of Science (German Studies, 1985) degree from Oberlin Conservatory, a Master's Degree in Conducting with a Certificate in Dalcroze Education (1989) from Ithaca College, and a Doctorate in Conducting (2003) from the Eastman School of Music.

Thomas Folan is a specialist in the music of the Baroque. At home with the repertoire from the 16th to the 18th Centuries, he is an expert in the music of J.S. Bach, particularly of the Master’s large-scale choral works. Folan is the Artistic Director and Conductor of Publick Musick, a nationally recognized baroque orchestra and chorus. The Boston Globe called his work “brilliant” (June 1997) and the Ithaca Journal said, “Folan was successful in pulling from his singers those clues to the composers that countless conductors have tried to pull from their choirs with no avail” (June 1995). Alfred Mann, Professor Emeritus of the Eastman School of Music, predicts that Folan is “headed for an auspicious future” (American Choral Review, 2003).

Thomas Folan most recently signed with Musica Omnia, a recording label based in Cambridge, MA, to record choral works of J.S. Bach. The first recording in this series is a two-disc set of Bach’s Lutheran Masses (BWV 233-236), due to be released in March 2006. His first Christmas album, Aural Borealis: Baroque Choral and Instrumental Music for the Christmas Season, received outstanding reviews. American Record Guide (November/December, 2003) called the recording “marvelous” and Ben Ohmart of the Muse’s Muse said, “[Aural Borealis is] filled with … flawless playing, chamber work that one would expect more from a Naxos catalog than an … indie release. The tracks shine in the Baroque tradition. Christmas will come every time light hits the grooves. You won’t be disappointed.”

Thomas Folan’s expertise extends as well to his command of rhetorical musical gesture. His attention to language allows him to pull from texts that which many other conductors do not. Folan is widely known for his ability to create a vision for the ensembles he leads. His legacy includes Music’s Recreation, a family-oriented presenting organization, the ensemble Sine Nomine, and Bach Festivals in Ithaca, Elmira, and Rochester, New York. His current project is the development of a permanent home for Publick Musick; in 2007, the Lighthouse Center for the Performing Arts will be completed, restoring what was a 19th entury Catholic Church to a fully-operational performance and recording space. In 1999, he founded and is the President and CEO of Sonabilis LLC, a recording company located in the Lennox Technology Center in Henrietta, which uses technology and the internet to broaden the audience for classical music.

Thomas Folan has served on the faculties of Ithaca College, Skidmore College, Cornell University and the University of Rochester. In addition to his duties as a freelance conductor, he also serves as a panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts. He is a member of the American Bach Society and Phi Kappa Lambda, the music honor society.


Source: Rochester Early Music Festival Ensemble Website; Nazareth College Website, Thomas Folan (February 2006)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2006), Thomas Folan (February 2006)

Thomas Folan: Short Biography | Publick Musick | Recordings | General Discussions

Links to other Sites

Rochester Early Music Festival Ensemble Biographies

Faculty: Tom Folan, DMA (Nazareth College)

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Last update: ýMarch 28, 2008 ý12:39:34