Orchestral conductor, flautist and writer, Patrick Thomas MBE (1932-2017) had a distinguished career in music spanning over 60 years. Originally from Brisbane, Thomas made some of his first appearances as a flautist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and eventually went on to become the orchestra's only homegrown chief conductor thus far. He founded and conducted the Patrick Thomas Singers in Brisbane and in 1964 went on to be appointed resident conductor of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust Opera Company and the Australian Ballet.
Thomas worked with numerous Australian orchestras and was guest conductor internationally with the Moscow Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Orchestra among others. Throughout his life he remained a fierce advocate for new music and Australian talent. He was the ABC's conductor in residence from 1978 to 1986.
Thomas was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his service to music in 1978, and received the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award in 1990. In 1998 he became the first Australian conductor to become an honorary life member of the Fellowship of Australian Composers.
In 2010, Thomas published a book of autobiography and poetry Upbeats and downbeats: a conductor's life (2010).
In 2011, Patrick Thomas shared the Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music, presented as part of the annual Art Music Awards by the AMC and APRA AMCOS, with conductor John Hopkins. He was named a member of the Order of Australia in 2014.
Patrick Thomas died in August 2017 at the age of 85.
Articles by and about Patrick Thomas
1 Jul 2010 Lindsay Aked, NSW's 'Mr Chips of Music' (1930-2010) by Patrick Thomas
Music teachers come and go. Some create an impact and leave a worthy legacy; others, though competent, struggle to make a lasting impression. One distinguished teacher in the former category was Lindsay Aked.
29 Apr 2011 Art Music Awards 2011 - Distinguished Services Award to Hopkins and Thomas by Australian Music Centre
The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Centre (AMC) are delighted to release names of the recipients of the Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music. In 2011, this award will be shared between two outstanding and inspiring members of the Australian music community, conductors John Hopkins OBE and Patrick Thomas MBE. The recipients of this Award were determined by the Board of Directors of APRA and the AMC.
The awards ceremony will be held at Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay next Tuesday, 3 May 2011.
18 May 2011 Art Music Awards 2011 - John Hopkins and Patrick Thomas (presentation speeches) by Benjamin Northey and Martin Buzacott
4 May 2011 Winners of the inaugural Art Music Awards announced by Australian Music Centre
Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Centre (AMC) have announced the winners of the inaugural Art Music Awards, the only national event in Australia to acknowledge the enormous achievement and creative successes of Australian performers and composers in the genres of contemporary art music, jazz and experimental music.
The gala event held at the Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay on Tuesday 3rd May 2011 honoured winners across nine national categories and seven State Awards, spanning performance, composition, outstanding contributions to Australian music by individuals and organisations, music education and regional music. An additional Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music, as determined by the Board of Directors of APRA and the AMC, was also presented.
27 Jan 2014 2014 Australia Day honours: Brenton Broadstock and Patrick Thomas by Australian Music Centre
The 2014 Australia Day honours list has recognised composer Brenton Broadstock and conductor Patrick Thomas for their services to music
3 Aug 2017 Patrick Thomas (1932-2017) by Australian Music Centre
21 Aug 2017 Patrick Thomas - obituary by Martin Buzacott
Brisbane-born conductor Patrick Thomas who died on 1 August 2017 was almost exactly the same age as the ABC - both came into the world in 1932 - and his career was inextricably linked with that of the national broadcaster.
When he was 12 years old, Patrick attended Eugene Ormandy's legendary wartime performances at the Brisbane City Hall, acquired the great man's autograph, and decided that he wanted to become a conductor himself. It was a childhood decision which would have major ramifications...
Works by Patrick Thomas
Patrick Thomas is not an Australian Music Centre represented artist, however the following works can be found in our collection:
Of life and music, Edward Elgar, op. 283 by Eric Gross
Of life and music, Gioachino Antonio Rossini, op. 283 by Eric Gross
Centaur by Colin Brumby
Marty the masked owl by Lindsay Aked
The Queensland floods by Ann Carr-Boyd and Patrick Thomas
Conversation - C.A.D. by Lindsay Aked
Tempus fugit by Lindsay Aked
A Yuletide Triptych by Paul Paviour
Tunes adored and songs of praise by Paul Paviour
Of life and music, Hector Berlioz, op. 283 by Eric Gross
Works commissioned by Patrick Thomas
Works commissioned and written for Patrick Thomas
CDs, Books and Kits featuring Patrick Thomas
World premieres given by Patrick Thomas
Festival overture on Australian themes : full orchestra by Colin Brumby— 17 Jan 82 (Adelaide Town Hall)
Concerto for flute and orchestra : flute with orchestra by Colin Brumby— 9 Mar 76 (Brisbane City Hall)
Concerto for violin and orchestra, op. 21 : violin with orchestra by Raymond Hanson— 5 Apr 75 (ABC Modern Music Forum, Mayne Hall, University of Queensland, Brisbane)
Concerto for horn and strings (horn with string orchestra) by Colin Brumby— 2 Apr 75 (Mayne Hall, University of Queensland, Brisbane)
Mountain village in a clearing mist : for orchestra by Ross Edwards— 1974 (Adelaide Festival of the Arts)
Concerto for piano & orchestra : piano with orchestra by Raymond Hanson— 18 Oct 72 (Tenth International Congress of Accountants, Sydney Town Hall)
Commentaries on living : SATB choir with orchestra by James Penberthy— 1972 (Festival of Perth Workshops, ABC Studios, WA)