Click below to hear audio samples of Stephen Thomas in performance:
Stephen Thomas, Coordinator of Keyboard Studies, performs with exciting and insightful musicianship as soloist, collaborative musician, and with orchestra. His performances have reached audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Past engagements include solo performances with several California orchestras, as well as concerts in cities from Kyoto to Copenhagen. Performances for the 2007-08 season included tours of Mexico, Denmark, and Romania.
Dr. Thomas has recorded performances for television and radio broadcast for stations such as WQXR in New York City. His most recent recording, “Music of Two Worlds,” explores solo piano works by Haydn, Brahms, and South American composers was released in November 2007 and is available at: http://cdbaby.com/cd/stephenthomas. He has also recorded and performed with principal players of the San Francisco Symphony in concerts throughout the Bay Area, including an appearance at Davies Hall for the Symphony’s Chamber Series: http://www.fishcreekmusic.com/fcm_cds.htm. Other recent performances have included solo recitals in the Sonora Bach Festival (California) and Temple Square Performances in Salt Lake City, as well as regular chamber music concerts in the Musica Viva series in Fresno.
Dr. Thomas has received grants from the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the University of Michigan, and the California State University, Stanislaus chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society for his research, performance, and recordings of various piano works. He has also received numerous awards for his playing and teaching, being much sought after for master class and lecture presentations for organizations such as the Music Teachers Association of California for whom he has been featured as a state convention artist.
Dr. Thomas holds degrees in piano performance from Brigham Young University, Yale University, and the University of Michigan, having studied with Irene Peery, Claude Frank, Peter Frankl, and Arthur Greene. Since his appointment to the faculty of the Department of Music at California State University, Stanislaus in 1996, he founded the Sylvia M. Ghiglieri Piano Competition, and the Piano Sessions of Summer Music at Stanislaus.
After serving as Chair of the Department of Music from 2000-2006, and as Acting Dean of the College of the Arts during the 2006-2007 academic year, Dr. Thomas has since returned to full-time teaching.
Read an interview with Dr. Thomas in the faculty spotlight archive:
John Hillebrandt, Staff Accompanist and Lecturer at California State University, Stanislaus since 1996, is also the Principal Keyboardist for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra. His numerous and highly acclaimed performances each season include solo recitals, chamber music, concertos, and original compositions. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. degree in music from the University of Central Florida, and M.M. and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees in piano performance from the University of Michigan. He has received numerous honors as both a pianist and composer, including first prize in the Florida West Coast Chopin Piano Competition and first prize in the American Matthay Association's Clara Wells Memorial Piano Competition. As a doctoral student he received a dissertation grant for the composition and performance of microtonal piano music, and won the University of Michigan's concerto competition for which he composed and performed his First Piano Concerto. The Modesto Symphony Orchestra commissioned and performed his Fantasia on French Carols for choir and orchestra during their 1999-2000 season.
In concerts presented by the California Composer's Consortium, Dr. Hillebrandt performs original works around the Central Valley and in San Francisco. In October 2005, he was the featured pianist of the Sonora Bach Festival, performing Bach's Fifteen Sinfonias and the world premier of the Hillebrandt "Transcendental Hymn-Fantasies, volume 2." Other recent performances have included Carnival of the Animals and Petrouchka with the MSO; Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with the Stanislaus Symphony; and Miklos Rosza's Spellbound Concerto with the MSO in 1999. As accompanist for the CSUS Concert Chorale, Dr. Hillebrandt has performed throughout Italy and France as both pianist and organist. He also traveled to South Korea in 2000 for a recital and masterclasses. He has taught many award-winning students, and spent two summers teaching at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.
Brenda Newell, Lecturer in the Department of Music teaches Class Piano at CSU Stanislaus and has also taught Piano Pedagogy, Keyboard Harmony for piano majors, Music Fundamentals, and Music for the Classroom Teacher. She performs as soloist, duo-pianist, and collaborative pianist on faculty recitals. Recent performances include Messiaen’s Visions de la Amen, Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals, Bach’s Concerto for Three Pianos and Strings, and Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. She has performed orchestral keyboards with the Modesto Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, and Stanislaus Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Newell is active in the Music Teachers Association of California, presently coordinating the MTAC Stanislaus Branch Baroque Festival, and frequently serves as an adjudicator and clinician of workshops and masterclasses. Recently she was a discussion leader at the National Group Piano Pedagogy Forum in Cincinnati. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in piano performance at the University of Central Florida, and her Masters of Music degree in piano pedagogy at the University of South Carolina, where she studied with internationally known piano pedagogue Dr. Max Camp.