Thomas Sleeper

From Wind Repertory Project
Thomas Sleeper


Thomas M. Sleeper (b. 16 February 1956, Wagoner, Okla.- 15 October 2022) was an American composer and conductor.

He received his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Texas, and subsequently received his Master of Music degree at Southern Methodist University, where he studied under Daryl F. Rauscher of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and James Rives-Jones, which influenced the "charged lyricism" and "singing" qualities found in his music today. Sleeper began his professional career as a member of Fermata, a group of composer/performers who presented annual series of interdisciplinary concerts throughout the state of Texas. At age 22, he was appointed Associate Conductor of the Dallas Civic Symphony and the SMU Chamber Orchestra and Opera Theatre where he began studies with Maestro James Rives-Jones. While in graduate school at the Meadows School of the Arts, he founded Perspectives, a contemporary music ensemble, which became part of that division’s curriculum.

Sleeper's output includes six operas, thirteen concerti, three symphonies, four orchestral song cycles, works for chorus with orchestra, three string quartets, numerous other vocal and instrumental chamber works and music for film. Sleeper has developed a unique compositional voice whose vocabulary is clearly from, but not limited to, this century.

A strong advocate of new music, Sleeper conducted the premieres of numerous works by American composers, including Henry Brant, Carlos Surinach, Roberto Sierra, Robert Xavier Rodriguez and Thomas Ludwig. Sleeper’s compositions have been performed throughout the USA, and in Europe, Asia and South America. Recent performances of his work include the Concerto for Alto Saxophone by Dale Underwood and Zoe Zeniodi.

An active guest conductor in the U.S. and abroad, he appeared with numerous orchestras including the Central Philharmonic of China, San Juan (Argentina) Symphony Orchestra, Ruse State Philharmonic and the China-Wuhan Symphony, which appointed him Artistic Advisor in 1993.

Sleeper was a member of the Cherokee Tribe (Blind Savannah Clan) and resided in Miami, Florida, where he was director of orchestral activities and conductor of the Frost Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theater, and music director of the Florida Youth Orchestra.

Works for Winds