Thomas Bookhout, Chorus Master

Thomas BookhoutThomas Bookhout brings to The Phoenix Symphony nearly 30 years of experience in the choral art, including preparing and conducting symphony, opera, university, community, school, and church choruses. He has prepared the Symphony Chorus on its widely-varied and challenging repertoire, including Verdi’s Requiem, Kodaly’s Psalmus Hungaricus, Estévez’s Cantata Criolla, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Handel’s Messiah, among others; as well as exciting performances in the Pops Series. During his tenure, the Symphony Chorus has grown over 40%, and enjoys a reputation for its commanding performances, engaging rehearsals, and its camaraderie. 

In 2015, Bookhout conducted The Phoenix Symphony Chorus in its Carnegie Hall debut performance, leading them in the world-premiere of Dan Forrest’s Psalm of Ascension for chorus and orchestra. In that same concert he conducted the Manhattan Concert Productions Masterworks Chorus and the NY Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.

Previously, Bookhout was Chorus Master for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, where he prepared the chorus for symphonic performances including Britten’s War Requiem, Vaughan Williams’s Sea Symphony, and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast; and for fully staged operas including Carmen, Il Trovatore, and Die Fledermaus, earning notable reviews in the American Record Guide and Opera News.

Bookhout also is High School Principal and Director of Fine Arts at Scottsdale Christian Academy. Formerly, he was the Director of the Sanctuary Choir at Camelback Bible Church, which performed a featured concert at the 2012 annual conference of the AZ American Choral Directors Association, toured Poland in 2010, and regularly performed major choral-orchestral works in the Camelback Performance Series. He is an active choral clinician and adjudicator. Bookhout also has been Music Director of the Taghkanic Chorale (succeeding two internationally-known conductors, Johannes Somary and Dennis Keene, in that position), Director of Choral Activities at the University of Charleston, WV, and Director of Music at The Stony Brook School in New York.

Dr. Bookhout earned his advanced degrees at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester and Arizona State University, as well as a bachelor of music degree from Houghton College, NY. His teachers and coaches have included Donald Neuen, Donald Bailey, Alfred Mann, Samuel Adler, David Stocker, Eric Nelson, Joseph Flummerfelt, Frauke Haaseman, and Dale Warland. He has served on the executive board of the AZ ACDA, and is a member of numerous professional organizations, including NATS and Southwest Liederkranz.

Tom’s wife Jeanne also is an educational administrator in Phoenix, and their growing family includes three adult children, two son-in-laws, and two perfect granddaughters.