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 songs by Copland, Lutoslawski, and others as part of the Juilliard Liederabend series in February as well as Rhizome: A Theatrical Recital in Paul Hall at The Juilliard School in April, a project being written and produced by West for his graduation recital. The program will feature collaborators from all three divisions of the school: Drama, Dance and Music and will include major works by Poulenc, Mahler, and Rachmaninoff as well as two world premiere pieces by composers Tim Hinck and Matthew Liu. This summer, West will be a baritone fellow at the esteemed Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA where he will be make his role debut as Bill in Bernstein's A Quiet Place

This past fall, West launched his newly formed cross-disciplinary group: Collaborative Arts Ensemble to great acclaim, touring a self-produced and self-written program called Letters of the American South throughout the state of Georgia. In October, West made his role debut as the Astrologer in Britten's The Burning Fiery Furnace at The Juilliard School.  Over the 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. 

This past season, West took on the title role of Billy Budd in a workshop version directed by 3 time Obie Award Winner Ain Gordon, and a performance of 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. Other highlights that year include being named the 2014 National Winner of the MTNA Competition in Chicago, Illinois, and portraying Marius in the Chattanooga Theatre Center's production of Les Miserables.

West is also an NPR's  "From the Top" alum, having appeared on the show in both 2012 and 2014. 

In addition to his multitude of honors as a performer, West is a dedicated arts leader and creator. In 2013 he founded ReGenerate, an arts leadership program 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 will continue on for a second season in 2018. His newest project, Collaborative Arts Ensemble, a cross-disciplinary performing arts group dedicated to sharing individual human stories through spoken word and music, was met with great acclaim in its inaugural tour this past September.