Thomas Kemp is an acclaimed conductor renowned for his innovative programming, extensive and scholarly knowledge of repertoire and passionate advocacy in concerts, opera, ballet and recording. The Guardian recently commented “…an extraordinary performance… with a fluency that came over brilliantly under the baton of Thomas Kemp.”
Thomas is the Music Director of Chamber Domaine, which is at the forefront of ensembles focusing on 20th and 21st century music. He has directed Chamber Domaine in festivals and concert series in the UK, Europe and North America including Edinburgh, Cheltenham, City of London, Huddersfield Contemporary, Wien Modern, The Proms, Aldeburgh, Vale of Glamorgan, Kuhmo and Brighton Festivals. The ensemble has made regular appearances at Wigmore Hall, South Bank Centre and have had residencies at Bargemusic, New York; The Schoenberg Centre, Vienna; The Victoria and Albert Museum and Gresham College, London. Thomas has a distinguished discography with the ensemble including world premiere recordings of Benjamin Britten, Frank Bridge, Arthur Bliss, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Arvo Part, Henrik Gorecki, Ned Rorem and Judith Bingham. The Times recently praised the ensemble for its “superb artistry…with pungent playing from Chamber Domaine under the baton of Thomas Kemp.”
Thomas is an award winning recording artist for Resonus and releases for 2018/2019 include recordings of Jean Sibelius, Richard Strauss, Judith Weir and Alexander Goehr. His recent recording of the Mozart Flute Quartets was an award winner in YLE Recording of the Year. Thomas is also conducting a recording of words and music celebrating the life and times of Siegfried Sassoon with the legendary actor Charles Dance OBE.
Thomas is regularly in demand as a guest conductor with orchestras and ensembles in the UK and Europe and is an acclaimed exponent of late nineteenth and early 20th century repertoire. Recent engagements include concerts in the UK, Europe and Asia with The Orchestra or the Age of Enlightenment conducting the 1926 film version of Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier. In 2017, he was a featured artist at the Oxford Lieder Festival conducting Mahler and Strauss with the OAE. The Spectator commented “It’s supremely, exhaustingly virtuosic writing…the OAE and Thomas Kemp gave their all, delivering salon-Strauss with half the orchestral fat but no real loss of flavour.” Seen and Heard praised the performances for their “marvellous sweep.” Engagements in 2019/20, include a UK and European tour of Stravinsky – The Soldiers Tale with Chamber Domaine and a new work by James Pearson – Artistic Director of Ronnie Scotts – to mark its centenary and a tour of Ireland with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s rarely heard Symphony of Life.
He has collaborated with leading artists including Toby Spence, Dietrich Henschel, Sarah Fulgoni, Nicky Spence, Sir Anish Kapoor, Craig Ogden, Edward Fox, Louise Alder, Charles Dance, Thomas Ades, Helen Lederer, Sally Matthews, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Yeree Suh and Andrew Staples and has given numerous world and territorial premieres.
He made his operatic debut in a new production of Cosi fan tutte for Opera Holland Park with the City of London Sinfonia to widespread praise. “Cosi fan tutte was conducted with real shape and nuance by Thomas Kemp…Altogether this was the most original and idiomatic attempt on this ungraspable work London has seen in a long time.” Opera Now.
Thomas is the Artistic Director of Music@Malling – an international festival that promotes the works of contemporary composers alongside masterworks from the Classical and Romantic periods. Founded in 2011, the festival is held each September in historic venues in and around West Malling, Kent and has a year around outreach programme that engages hundreds of young people in creative activities from across the county. In 2018, the festival had 30 events and profiled the music of Judith Weir CBE – Master of the Queen’s Music. The outreach programme engaged over 2000 young people in creative activities across the year. Music@Malling was recently featured the annual international roundup of The Best Classical Concerts in The Artsdesk. 2019 features the music of Robin Holloway and Alexander Goehr which will broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
From 1989-92, Thomas read music at St.Catharine’s College, Cambridge and went on to study violin and chamber music at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester where from 2000-2014 he worked as a professor. He has given masterclasses and conducted ensembles in conservatoires and universities worldwide.
From 2003-2007, he studied conducting at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm with Jorma Panula, Paul Magi and Alan Gilbert winning the prestigious conductors award from The Swedish Academy.
Thomas has enjoyed an international career as a guest concertmaster, soloist and chamber musician with many renowned orchestras and ensembles and has led many recording sessions for TV and film in London. The Strad recently commented: “He displays a remarkable variety of tone in playing that’s lyrical yet assertive, and there’s a real sense of sincerity to his glowing interpretations.”