Thomas Albert as been an active composer for over five decades; his music has been performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Brazil, Japan, and Korea.
His best-known work, “Thirteen Ways,” was the first commission offered by the Grammy-winning ensemble, Eighth Blackbird. Based on Wallace Stevens’ poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” from which the ensemble derived its name, it is the title work of their premier recording for Cedille Records, “Thirteen Ways.”
In 1976, he received a Bicentennial Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to compose an American-themed work. The result was Lizbeth, a one-act opera based on the life and legend of Lizzie Borden. Lizbeth was subsequently a finalist in the National Opera Association’s Chamber Opera Competition.
Two of his works, “A Maze (With Grace),” and “Devil’s Rain,” are included on the CD, “On Edge,” by the Philadelphia new music ensemble, Relâche. The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble’s recording of “Night Music” was released in 2007.
Other commissions include three works for the 21st Century Consort: “Characters,” “Illuminations,” and “The Devil’s Handyman;” “Night Music” for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble; “Anonymous Fame” and “The Devil’s Handyman Suite” for the Washington Saxophone Quartet; by the Virginia Music Teachers’ Association for “O Magnum Mysterium” (six-part treble choir) and “No Chance” (percussion ensemble).
For the theatre, his commissions for incidental music include: Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches (for Eighth Blackbird and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory), and a reworking of that music for a later Shenandoah Conservatory production. Also for Shenandoah Conservatory: music for The Elephant Man, The Crucible, To Kill a Mockingbird, Metamorphoses, Peer Gynt, Three Sisters, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Short North Stage (Columbus OH) commisioned a second reworking of Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, and new music for Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika.
After 42 years of teaching at Shenandoah Conservatory (of Shenandoah University), he retired as Professor Emeritus of Composition and Musical Theatre. He served as the Conservatory’s first Associate Dean for fifteen years; founded and conducted the Shenandoah New Music Ensemble; and was music director and conductor for more than 140 musicals for the Conservatory and Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre. He retired as Producing Artistic Director of Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre in 2019.
Thomas Albert was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Barton College and the University of Illinois. His principal composition teachers were William Duckworth, Paul Martin Zonn and Ben Johnston. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. His music is published by Media Press, Inc.