• Lee University


  • Phillip Thomas

    B.A., Lee College
    M.M., Peabody Conservatory of Music
    Ph.D., University of Cincinnati


    Professor of Music, Chairperson of Musicianship Studies

    Teacher, music historian, and pianist Phillip Thomas began his teaching career at Lee University as a piano instructor in 1977. Since then, he has filled a number of roles, including classroom and studio teacher, accompanist, ensemble director, and administrator.

    Currently, his teaching responsibilities include graduate and undergraduate courses in music history and literature, as well as some studio teaching. Thomas also chairs the Musicianship Studies Department and serves on a number of University committees. He is also the founding Executive Director of Lee’s annual Piano Festival.

    Thomas has served as adjudicator for a variety of competitions on the local, regional, and international levels. His students often receive the highest ratings; some have won their respective divisions. Thomas is listed in the Who’s Who Among American Teachers and is a member of the American Musicological Society, the College Music Society and Music Teachers National Association.

    A year after graduating summa cum laude from Lee University, Thomas completed the master’s degree in piano from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied piano with George Walker and Julio Esteban. He later completed the Ph.D. degree in Music History from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati; there, he was the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship and an assistantship in music theory. His dissertation was entitled, “Music for One or More Alternately Tuned Acoustic Pianos, 1920-1993: Trends in Melody, Harmony, and Technique.” Also a practicing harpsichordist, Thomas has studied with Eiji Hashimoto and Arthur Haas.

    In 1996, Thomas established Lee University’s Chamber Orchestra, after serving as founding conductor of a community string orchestra for several years. He studied conducting at the Institute Provençe-Aubagne in France with Yves Cohen, a student of Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa.

    Off campus, he has served as board member for the Tennessee Music Teachers Association and the Chattanooga Youth Symphony, and as keyboardist for the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra. Thomas has also served as reviewer for several college textbooks, including the second edition of Douglass Seaton’s “Ideas and Styles in the Western Musical Tradition,” published by McGraw-Hill.

    Thomas and his wife Dale, a Lee alumna, who is a soprano and an award-winning teacher, reside in Cleveland. They have one daughter, Shannon, a talented violinist.

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