The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through forests, so that we will not, in all of our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.
— James Baldwin
 
 

Hailed by the Boston Musical Intelligencer as a "miraculous...nuanced singer," Thomas West, baritone is a creative artist and entrepreneur whose work expands everything from brand new opera to cross-disciplinary collaboration.

West’s 2019-2020 season kicks off in his return to the New York Festival of Song for its annual Orient, NY residency in a program called Ports of Call. In September, West travels home to Chattanooga to work with long-time collaborator Tim Hinck on a performance of scenes from his most recent opera Eve Apart. December brings West to Winnipeg, Canada for his debut with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra in a concert of all Bach vocal music alongside renowned soprano Karina Gauvin. Other exciting 19/20 performances are currently in the works and will be announced shortly!

The 2018-2019 season brought a number of exciting debuts for West in the opera world. In October/November 2018, West spent two months as the cover for the role of Silvio in Pagliacci with Opera San Jose in San Jose, CA. In March 2019, West traveled to Davenport, Iowa to sing with Chamber Music Quad Cities as part of a concert celebrating the NY Times Notable Author Nathan Hill and his book The Nix. He also made a return to Cantori New York under the direction of conductor Mark Shapiro for the New York premiere of Donald Grantham’s La Cancion Desesperada. West’s performance season wrapped up in April with a trip to Tennessee to sing the role of Morales in Carmen with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. In addition to these performances, West was named the winner of the Kennett Symphony Voice Competition in Kennett Square, PA and was also a finalist in the 2019 editions of the Joy in Singing Competition in New York City and the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition in Oakland, California.

Over the 2018 summer, West held a prestigious fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center where projects included Bernstein's Opening Prayer with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra under the baton of BSO Assistant Conductor Yu-An Chang while also making his role debut as Bill in Bernstein's A Quiet Place. In June, West traveled to Avaloch Music Farm in Boscawen, NH where his interdisciplinary arts collective, Collaborative Arts Ensemble was in residence. 

West’s 2017-2018 season brought about his role debut as the Astrologer in Britten's The Burning Fiery Furnace at The Juilliard School. In April 2018, he wrote and produced Rhizome: A Theatrical Recital which featured 23 artists across three different disciplines (actors, dancers, musicians), and was presented at The Juilliard School to great acclaim. West also portrayed the title role of Billy Bigelow in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, in a new production conceived by Brooklyn based director John Giampietro at The Chautauqua Institution. 

During the 2016-2017 season, West took on the title role of Billy Budd in a workshop version directed by 3 time Obie Award Winner Ain Gordon, and was the baritone soloist in Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Bill Wymond.  Other highlights included a number of prominent Lincoln Center debuts including Bach's BWV 82: Ich Habe Genug with Juilliard Chamberfest in Peter Jay Sharp Theater and the world premiere of Wayne Oquin's Meditation in Alice Tully Hall. 

The 2015-16 season brought about performances of Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Chautuauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY. He also made his New York City recital debut at The National Opera Center with pianist Matthew Stephens. Other season highlights included performances with the New York Festival of Song, singing the role of Count Valerio in a concert production of The Voice of Ariadne by Thea Musgrave at Barnard College, and singing the U.S. Premiere of Dame Ethel Smyth's The Prison with Conductor Mark Shapiro and Cantori New York. In the summer of 2015, he was one of thirty-two young artists at Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake NY, where he made his role debut as Rapunzel's Prince in Sondheim's Into the Woods.

In 2014, West was named a 2014 National YoungArts Finalist and would later be honored by President Barack Obama as a 2014 Presidential Scholar in the Arts. As a Presidential Scholar, West was a featured performer in a program entitled A Salute to the 2014 Presidential Scholars, directed by award-winning director Bill T. Jones and performed at the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington D.C

West is also an NPR's  "From the Top" alum, having appeared on the show in both 2012 and 2014 and was recently awarded the From the Top Alumni Leadership Grant for his commitment to being a citizen-artist. 

West is a dedicated arts leader and creative producer. In 2013 he founded ReGenerate, an arts leadership program for high school students dedicated to advocating and fundraising for the arts in the public schools of Chattanooga. The program now in its 5th year, is comprised of 28 sophomores and juniors representing 14 different area high schools. The program ReGenerate was a result of Mr. West's initial project entitled "Let Beauty Awaken," a CD fundraiser and benefit concert that raised almost 16,000 dollars for arts education in Hamilton County. More recently, West was one of the leaders behind OperaComp, a workshop for brand new opera scenes designed to give the modern day singer and composer opportunity to collaborate. The inaugural workshop and performances took place in New York City in March 2017 and just concluded its second season at National Sawdust (Brooklyn) in April 2018. His newest project, Collaborative Arts Ensemble, a cross-disciplinary roster of artists dedicated to exploring social issues in concert performance is making waves in the concert world for its innovative programming and unique platform for its artists.