Dr. Eric Thomas is Associate Professor of Music in the ETBU School of Fine Arts. Prior to coming to ETBU in 2009, he was the Director of Opera & Musical Theatre at Houghton College. A native Pennsylvanian, Thomas' powerful, dramatic baritone has won him high praise from critics and conductors alike as he has amassed a repertoire of over sixty opera, musical theater, and oratorio roles while performing throughout the United States and in Europe. Highlights include the baritone soli in Carmina Burana with the Czech National Radio Symphony in Prague, Intermezzo (Kommerzienrat) with the Sante Fe Opera, and Escamillo in Carmen in New Jersey. He performed the New York City premieres of A Chekhov Trilogy (Sergei) and the title role in Tartuffe, under the composer's supervision, while performing numerous recitals and concerts throughout the United States. In 2008, he debuted with the Grammy Award Winning Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, singing the bass soli in Händel's Messiah.
A proponent of new opera, Dr. Thomas has participated in four world premiere works: as Toby in Gary Glickman's Twelfth Night for American Opera Projects, The Mayor in Joel Mandelbaums's The Village, both in New York City, as Mr. Ruskin in David Lang's Modern Painters for The Sante Fe Opera, and as Bildad in Doug Katsoros' Moby Dick. A veteran of the Sarasota and Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist Programs and The Pittsburgh Opera Center, Dr. Thomas has received grants and awards from The Ford Foundation, The Anna Case Mackay Foundation, The Helen Jepson Dellara Foundation, The William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation, and is a founding member of Opera Ovations of New York.
Dr. Thomas earned a BA in Music Education from West Liberty State College in West Virginia, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Miami. Along the way, he also earned an MA in Choral Conducting. For four years, he was part of D. James Kennedy's ministry, performing often on the internationally broadcast Coral Ridge Hour television program. He also serves as the Artistic Director of the Shreveport Chambersingers and serves as a consulting voice teacher with area laryngologists. He currently lives in Jefferson, Texas, with his wife, the soprano Kathleen Den Bleyker-Thomas, and children Jimmy and Abigail.
D.M.A. (Vocal Performance), University of Miami;
M.A. (Choral Conducting), Florida Atlantic University;
B.M. (Music Education), West Liberty State College