Praised by the New York Times for his “sweet, penetrating lyric tenor with aching sensitivity,” and by San Francisco Classical Voice as “an indomitable musical force,” Thomas Cooley is a singer of great versatility, expressiveness, and virtuosity.
He has collaborated with conductors such as Teodor Currentzis, Nicholas McGegan, Robert Spano, Manfred Honneck, Donald Runnicles, Helmuth Rilling, Osmo Vänskä, Eji Oue, David Robertson, Markus Stenz, Bernard Labadie, Jane Glover, and Franz Welser-Möst.
Internationally in demand for a wide range of repertoire in concert, opera, and chamber music, Cooley performs regularly with major orchestras such as the Atlanta, St. Louis, and National Symphonies; the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec; Copenhagen Philharmonic; Bavarian Radio Symphony; Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi; the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig; and the Osaka Philharmonic.
Thomas Cooley’s repertoire on the symphonic stage includes works such as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis; Berlioz’s Requiem; productions of Britten’s Peter Grimes and War Requiem in Carnegie Hall as part of the Britten Centennial; Haydn’s Creation; Britten’s Serenade and Les Illuminations; Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius; Rihm’s Deus Passus; Mahler’s Lied von der Erde; Penderecki’s Credo, and Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus. Recent highlights include a tour of Mozart’s Requiem with musicAeterna, and the world premiere and recording of Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation/Creator with Atlanta Symphony. Other important recordings include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Copenhagen Philharmonic and the title role in Handel’s Samson with Nicholas McGegan and the Festspiel Orchester Göttingen.
Renowned for his agility and skill in Baroque music, Mr. Cooley is in demand, particularly as an interpreter of the works of Bach and Handel. This year, he returns for his 10th season as the tenor soloist at the Carmel Bach Festival. He was named Artist-in-Residence by Music of the Baroque in Chicago in the 2015-16 season. Of his Evangelist with Jane Glover, the Chicago Tribune wrote, “In the stylish tenor Thomas Cooley she had an ideal Evangelist, firm of voice and commanding of expression. So intensely did he penetrate the long and demanding narration that the familiar saga took on the urgency of on-site reportage.” He appears regularly with such groups as Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Handel and Haydn, Akadamie für Alte Musik Berlin, Les Violons du Roy, and the Göttingen Händelfestspiele.
Important recent engagements of Baroque music include Telemann’s Tag des Gerichts in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Evangelist in St. John Passion on tour in Italy with the Munich Bach Choir; Purcell’s Indian Queen with musicAeterna, Bach’s Lutheran Masses with Violons du Roy in Montreal, Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Seattle Symphony, Handel’s Joshua with Philharmonia Baroque and created the role of Acis in a new production of Acis and Galatea with the Mark Morris Dance Group. A program of Handel arias and duets entitled “As Steals the Morn” with San Francisco’s Voices of Music was selected as the best Early/Baroque performance in the Bay Area in 2019 and a video of one of the selections of this concert has received over one million views.
On the operatic stage he has performed many of the great tenor roles in the operas of Mozart, including Tamino, Belmonte, Ferrando, Don Ottavio and the title role in Idomeneo. Other roles include Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia, the title role in Bernstein’s Candide, and Bajazet in Handel’s Tamerlano. He was a member of the ensemble at the Gärtnerplatz Theater in Munich for four years. Additionally, he has performed at the Bavarian State Opera, the Krakow State Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and the Göttingen Händelfestspiele, where he returns in 2021 as Grimoaldo for their 100th Anniversary production of Rodelinda. Of his performance as Don Ottavio in the Concertgebouw with Orchestra of the 18th Century, Opera Gazette wrote, “The man sang his two arias so inhumanly beautifully-his ‘Dalla sua pace’ was a diamond –that for a moment we no longer knew what we were doing. The last thing we are aiming for is the Fritz Wunderlich police, but our thoughts wandered for a moment to the best Mozart tenor ever. Cooley’s virtuosity and expressiveness are of an extraterrestrial level. A breathtaking climax.”
Highlights of the coming season include Rodelinda in a stage/television production at the Göttingen Handel Festival, Handel’s Ode to St. Cecilia and the role of Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas at the Carmel Bach Festival, Messiah with Nicholas McGegan in Cleveland and with the Jacksonville Symphony, the Evangelist in St. Matthew Passion with St. Thomas and Trinity Wall Street in New York City, and the arias of the St. John Passion with the Columbus Symphony.