Classical guitarist Thomas Echols is quickly being recognized, not only as a masterful recitalist, but as an engaging lecturer on contemporary repertoire for the guitar. His recital and lecture at the 2010 Guitar Foundation of America’s Annual Convention in Austin, Texas, inspired William Kanengiser of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet to write:
“It was a distinct pleasure to witness Tom Echols’ lecture/demonstration focusing on one of the most important works in the contemporary guitar repertoire: Eliot Carter’s “Changes”. With deep intellectual insight and masterful musical skill, Mr. Echols deconstructed and re-constructed this most enigmatic piece, putting into context its structural and philosophical underpinnings. Most impressively, after a detailed lecture worthy of an American Musicological Society presentation, he deftly performed the work from memory, with a nuance and passion rarely heard. Bravo to Messrs. Carter and Echols!”
A prizewinner in the Portland International Guitar Competition and the Donald Miller Concerto Competition, major engagements have included performing with the Houston Symphony, the grammy-award winning group Conspirare, and solo performances at music festivals and in concert series throughout the United States.
Accepted at age 16 into the College of Music at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Echols was awarded a full scholarship to study with Dr. Charles Wolzien. He earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Texas at Austin, studying with renowned performer and pedagogue, Adam Holzman. He was awarded the Diploma di Merito from the prestigious Accademia Musicale in Siena, Italy, where he studied with Maestro Oscar Ghiglia. Dr. Echols holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California, where he studied with William Kanengiser, Brian Head, and Pepe Romero. He has been inspired by participation in master classes with such world-famous artists as Eliot Fisk, Sergio and Odair Assad, David Russell, Christopher Parkening and David Starobin.
His debut CD, Plainte Calme, includes Elliott Carter’s Changes along with his own arrangements of works by Olivier Messiaen and Claude Debussy. He has also recorded and toured with the Grammy nominated rock band Devotchka and the Grammy winning choral group Conspirare. Dr. Echols resides in Austin, Texas.