Nova Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Voice at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and presently the director of the university’s Music Theater Program. Her teaching responsibilities include private vocal instruction (for both graduate and undergraduate students); dramatic coachings and role preparation; four progressive semesters of classes for the singing-actor; and a special topics course in Bel Canto. Additionally, she is in much demand as a master class teacher and speaker. Recent engagements in this capacity have included classes and lectures with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and National Opera Association Winter Conference; an OPERA America-sponsored event on the training of big voices; a master class with the Florence Voice Seminar; and several university master classes. Ms. Thomas is a teaching-artist and dramatic coach for Westminster Choir College’s CoOPERAtive program; a master teacher for the Conducting Institute; and a co-teacher with renowned actor and TONY award winner Denis O’Hare for the Summer Music Theater Immersion Experience in New York City. Other academic appointments include Professor of Professional Practice and Voice and Speech Departmental Chair at the New School for Drama, New School University (formerly the Actors Studio Drama School) in New York City. She is a recipient of that university’s most prestigious award for “Excellence in Teaching.”
As a performer, Ms. Thomas is an internationally acclaimed soprano whose work has been characterized as “ravishing in sound and magical in stage presence” (OPERA/London). International appearances have taken her to the opera houses of Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Paris, London, Dublin, Belfast, Mexico City, and Hong Kong. In this country she has performed with the opera companies of New York City, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, Seattle, Baltimore, Detroit, San Diego, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Louisville, Knoxville, Houston, Memphis, Grand Rapids, Nashville, Costa Mesa, New Jersey, El Paso, Syracuse, and Anchorage (among others). Concert engagements have included performances with the Chicago Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, and the Indianapolis Symphony. Her repertoire features the heroines of La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Norma, Otello, Aida, Un Ballo in Maschera, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Il Trittico, Macbeth, La Boheme, Faust, Cosi fan Tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Anna Bolena, Don Giovanni, Turandot, Dialoques des Carmelites, and Les Contes d’Hoffman. She has enjoyed a close collaboration with Dame Joan Sutherland and Maestro Richard Bonynge – the latter with whom she recorded the title role in the Bohemian Girl for Decca Records. Other conductors and directors of renown with whom she has had the privilege of working are (among others): James Conlon, Carlo Rizzi, John Nelson, Michelangelo Veltri, John Crosby, Philippe Augin, Eduardo Muller, Maurizio Barbacini, Colin Grahm, Michael Hampe, Lotfi Mansouri, and John Pascoe.
Ms. Thomas is a co-author, with James Jordan, of the soon to be released book, Towards Center (GIA Press, 2009). She is originally from North Carolina, and has received her home state’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the arts. She works with the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Henry Hugh Shelton, and serves on his Board of Directors for a national leadership initiative.