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. Upcoming projects include a fellowship at Tanglewood Music Center where he will sing Bernstein's Opening Prayer with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra under BSO conductor Andris Nelsons and make his role debut as Bill in Bernstein's A Quiet Place. In June, West will travel to Avaloch Music Farm in Boscawen, NH where his interdisciplinary arts collective, Collaborative Arts Ensemble will be in residence. He will also perform with the ensemble in August at the Rite of Summer Music Festival on Governor's Island, NY. 

This past season, West made his role debut as the Astrologer in Britten's The Burning Fiery Furnace at The Juilliard School. In April, 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 response. Last summer, West 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 performing arts group dedicated to promoting social and political understanding in the world, was met with great acclaim in its inaugural tour this past September.