Thomas Aláan

Critically acclaimed stellar [Chicago Tribune] countertenor Thomas Aláan has been a featured soloist on radio shows, album recordings, concert series, and festivals across the United States. He has performed with groups including Alchymy Viols, Ars Antigua, Bella Voce Camerata, Bach Cantata Vespers, Charlottesville Early Music Access Project, Credo, Elgin Master Elgin Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, Helios Ensemble, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, Mountainside Baroque, Musikanten Montana, and Schola Antiqua. With the Bach and Beethoven Experience (BBE), he has performed on the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Series, the Bach and Beyond Baroque Early Music Festival, the Baroque on Beaver Island Festival, the Wicker Park Music Festival, and the Bloomington Early Music Festival.

In media, he’s been heard on WGN Radio (Up Late with Patti Vasquez, Nocturnal Journal), WNPR (The Midday), WFMT (The Midnight Special, Midday), and Chicago Irish Radio; has interviewed with Early Music America, Huffington Post, and 98.7 WFMT; and can be heard regularly on podcasts such as Best Nerds Studio and The BBE Live, the latter featured through Early Music America’s Wellness Series. His recordings include Vivaldi’s solo cantata Stabat mater dolorosa for Biretta Books; Haydn’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Elgin Master Chorale and Symphony Orchestra; Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra; and An Appalachian Summer, A Gaelic Summer, and Chicago Stories: The Album with the BBE.

He has premiered several new works written for countertenor, including Eric Malmquist’s Two Assyrian Songs, A Portrait of Lam Ho, and A Valediction; Amos Gillespie’s Three Songs; Mark Nowakowski’s O Dulcis Electe, Chesterton’s Carol, and Mizerna Cicha; Kurt Westerberg’s Three Orphic Hymns; Lucas Tuazon’s In service to; Heidi Joosten’s Edwin in the Lowlands Low; and Tomás Gueglio’s Blue Heron. He will solo in the BBE’s upcoming four-part commission Chicago Stories: The Oratorio.

When not singing, Thomas divides his time teaching voice in his home studio at Chicago Voice Lessons; as Executive Director of the Bach and Beethoven Experience (BBE); as Assistant Conductor and Director of Women’s Schola at Holy Name Cathedral; as a sustainability educator at the University of Illinois at Chicago, running the internationally acclaimed Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy and lecturing in the Honors College where he teaches courses including Music as a Tool for Environmentalism and Change and The Music and Science Connection; and as an occasional saxophonist. He has presented talks on singing and pedagogy, music in environmental spaces, vocal rhetoric, interdisciplinary collaboration, and entrepreneurship in the arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University, DePaul University, and through organizations such as the Helena Music Teachers Association, The People’s Music School, and Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Art Business Entrepreneurship Workshop.

Thomas received his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Performance from the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he was a Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellow studying with Jim Doing. His research interests include the performance practice and ornamentation of Sean-nòs singers, developing educational frameworks for approaching science, philosophy, and environmentalism through music, and the use of music in sociopolitical and environmental movements. He received his Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy at Texas Woman’s University with renowned author and pedagogue, Joan Wall, and his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education (voice and saxophone) from Alderson-Broaddus University. Additional teacher-mentors include Sheri Greenawald, Mark Crayton, Ellen Hargis, Elizabeth Parker, Max von Egmond, Ann Baltz, David Brock, Beverly Hoch, Linda Poetschke, and Lewis Hall.

Outside of music, he volunteers as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Beyond Legal Aid. He is a calorie counting gym rat and a wannabe DJ. When not engaged in any of the above activities, he can be found cooking in the kitchen or feeding his cat, Guillaume (de Machaut) Pérotin his breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks.