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John Hugh Thomas

Honorary President

John Hugh Thomas began his professional career as Director of Music at King Edward School, Stourbridge.  After three years in that post he was appointed Lecturer in Music (later Senior Lecturer) at Swansea University, a post he held for some thirty years. During this time he formed the Swansea Bach Choir, which became recognised as one of the country’s most accomplished chamber choirs, and established the Swansea Bach Week, one of the country’s first international early music festivals. 

During this time he was also a member of the Heinrich Schütz Choir and the Monteverdi Choir of London, performing in most European countries, in Israel, Scandinavia and in America. He has conducted several professional orchestras, including the Hanover Band, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, and has been guest conductor with many amateur and professional choirs including the BBC Singers and the Netherlands Radio Chorus.

In 1983 he formed the BBC Welsh Chorus (BBCNOW) and was its Chorus Master for twelve years, conducting several broadcast concerts and collaborating with many distinguished international conductors. He assisted in the formation of the National Youth Choir of Wales in 1984 and was its conductor for three years ending his time with them by directing the annual Bach Memorial Concert at St Thomas Church, Leipzig in July 1992.

He has written and presented a number of programmes for radio and television including a series on Schubert songs with Bryn Terfel and Malcolm Martineau, made in Vienna, and shown on BBC TV. From 1997-1999 he was Head of Vocal Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. In July 1996 he was awarded the OBE for his services to music in Wales and in 2000 was made a Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

He formed Swansea Bach Choir in 1965 and remains involved as President and guest conductor.

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