Thomas Victor Johnson

Biography

Thomas is an opera répétiteur, vocal coach, and pianist currently based in Berlin, Germany. Winner of the Richard Bonynge Accompanists Award at the 2018 Sydney International Song Prize, he is in high demand as an insightful, refined and sympathetic collaborative artist. Thomas is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he studied piano performance and accompaniment with Natalia Sheludiakova.

Besides being a master of the keyboard, Thomas is a sensitive player and coach who understands the unique needs of singers, and is able to communicate complex musical ideas, nuance of style and the technical essentials with ease and humanity. This combination of skills in a coach is extraordinarily rare.
— Tanja Binggeli, German Language Coach, Opera Australia

Thomas has over 7 years’ experience working at both state and national opera companies in Australia. Between 2012 - 2016 he was the Assistant Chorus Master and Children’s Chorus Master at Opera Australia. In 2016, he was appointed Head of Music at West Australian Opera, where he managed the music and language staff, administered the young artist program, auditioned and prepared the chorus, coached principal artists, and designed and implemented new community engagement projects. In 2017 he was invited to join the adjudication panel of the IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition. Thomas is proudly supported by the Wagner Society of NSW.

Thomas was recommended to me as an outstanding musician of promise, and after our first collaboration on a production of Faust - where Thomas acted as Guest Chorus Master - I appointed him as Head of Music at West Australian Opera. During that time Thomas demonstrated his skills as chorus master, accompanist, coach, administrator, and animateur for the Company. The promise he demonstrates is substantial. His musical instincts are both sensitive and robust. Thomas has, in my view, the potential to contribute substantially to the future health and development of Australian operatic culture.
— Brad Cohen, Artistic Director, West Australian Opera

In 2018, Thomas was re-engaged by Opera Australia as a full-time member of the music staff, where his season included Massenet’s Don Quichotte, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Bizet’s Carmen, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Puccini’s La Bohème, and Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia.

He has worked with conductors including Renato Palumbo, Pietari Inkinen, Guillaume Tourniaire, Patrick Lange, Carlo Montanaro, Andrea Battistoni, Stuart Stratford, Tom Woods, Brad Cohen, Jonathan Darlington, Pietro Rizzo, Anthony Legge, Benjamin Northey, Tahu Matheson, Christian Badea, Nicholas Milton, and Antony Walker.

Thomas is undoubtedly one of Australia’s finest and most respected musicians working in opera in the country. His chosen area of speciality in this field, vocal coaching, is so specialised that there are only a handful of musicians working in this area. That Thomas has become so accomplished so quickly in this branch of the profession is testament to his training, dedication and innate musicality.
— Michael Black, Chorus Master, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Thomas frequently performs in vocal and instrumental recitals, recordings, and radio broadcasts, and is a sought-after ensemble pianist. He has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia, Australian Youth Orchestra, Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir, Sydney Children's Choir, The Choir of Christ Church St Laurence Sydney, Bel A Cappella, Sydney Chamber Choir, and Meow Meow.

He studied in masterclasses with pianists Stephen Hough, Mikhail Voskressensky, Gerard Willems, Ruth Nye, Andrew Ball, Marco Rapetti, Cristina Ortiz, and Iain Burnside.

Thomas is one of a handful of young artists I have worked with over the years who has the potential to make a substantial and lasting contribution to opera in Australia. He is talented and committed, and has already made an impact.
— Nicole Dorigo, Italian & French Language Coach, Opera Australia

Résumé

Education

Bachelor of Music Studies
University of Sydney
2006 - 2014

Positions

Répétiteur
Opera Australia   
Jan 2018 - Dec 2018

Head of Music
West Australian Opera
Jun 2016 - Nov 2017

Assistant Chorus Master & Children’s Chorus Master
Opera Australia     
Sep 2012 - Jun 2016

Music Director, Victorian Schools Company, Touring and Outreach
Opera Australia     
May 2012 - Sep 2012

Touring Répétiteur
Opera Australia     
Jul 2011 - Sep 2011

 

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