Thomas Bookhout, Chorus Master

Thomas BookhoutThomas Bookhout brings to The Phoenix Symphony over three decades of experience in the choral art, preparing and conducting symphony, opera, university, community, school, and church choruses. Now in his fifth year with the Phoenix Symphony, he has prepared the Symphony Chorus on its widely-varied and challenging masterworks repertoire, including Verdi’s Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria, 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 Symphony’s Pops Series. During his tenure, the Symphony Chorus has grown over 40%, and enjoys a reputation for its stunning performances, engaging rehearsals, and its camaraderie. 

Bookhout’s Carnegie Hall debut was in 2015, where he led The Phoenix Symphony Chorus in a world-premiere of Dan Forrest’s Psalm of Ascension for chorus and orchestra, and the Manhattan Concert Productions Masterworks Chorus and 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. In 2017 Bookhout plans to conduct again at Carnegie Hall, as well as in Vienna and Salzburg, with MidAmerica Productions.

Bookhout currently serves as a guest conductor and clinician around the country, and has taken choirs on performance tours to Poland, in Eastern Europe. He is founder and musical director of the Arizona Sacred Chorale, an independent chorus dedicated to the exceptional performance of fine sacred choral music. Additionally, he is Director of Fine Arts at Scottsdale Christian Academy. Previously, he was the choir director at Camelback Bible Church, which was featured in performance at the annual conference of the AZ American Choral Directors Association and regularly performed major choral-orchestral works in the Camelback Performance Series. 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. 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 is a member of the Council for the Von Promnitz Palace Center for the Arts in Zary, Poland; has served on the executive board of the AZ ACDA; and is a member of numerous professional organizations, including NATS, ACDA, NAfME, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Southwest Liederkranz.

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