Kornel Thomas is currently the Assistant Conductor of Savaria Symphony Orchestra. He recently won second prize and two special prizes at the Opera Nice Conducting Competition and in 2016, won third prize at the 2nd Atlantic Coast International Conducting Competition in Portugal. His work with professional ensembles include ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Argovia Philharmonic, Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok, Danubia Orchestra Óbuda, Zugló Philharmonic, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Teplice, Hungarian National Choir, and Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a strong advocate for contemporary music and was the Music Director of Nebula Ensemble from 2014-2018. During his time with the ensemble he conducted over fifty world premieres. He also had the honor to work side-by side with leading European composers such as Helmut Lachenmann, Gyorgy Kurtág and Peter Eötvös. Previously, he held assistant conductor positions at the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, Lamont Symphony Orchestra, and St. Stephen King Youth Orchestra. In 2013, he was acting music director of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra. He also worked with the Lamont Opera Theatre where he assisted three opera productions and was music director of a fourth production. Contemporary opera engagements included a short opera written for the Nebula Ensemble, and an opera project created by the Department of Media Composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
Thomas is an established composer, currently writing music for short films. He has collaborated with the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York. He has received commissions to compose works for the Allegro Vivo Chamber Music Festival, St. Stephen King Conservatory Women’s Choir, and the St. Stephen King Music School String Orchestra. In 2006, Thomas won the second prize at the 3rd Béla Bartok Hungarian National Composer Competition.
Understanding the importance of music education for children, Thomas served from 2013-2016 as Conductor and Teaching Artist at El Sistema Colorado. During that time, the program grew from thirty students to over seven hundred students, all of whom came from poor socioeconomic families. Along with his conducting duties, he taught string lessons, was the choir accompanist, and arranged orchestral works for the specific needs and levels of the youth orchestras. Thomas’ goals and hopes for the children were to transform and empower their lives through music.
Thomas has attended multiple conducting masterclasses, workshops and festivals. Highlights include the Peter Eötvös Foundation’s Masterclass for Conductors, Fort Wayne International Conducting Workshop, Orkney Conductors’ Course at the St. Magnus Festival, and Pierre Monteux School and Music Festival. Thomas holds a master’s in orchestral conducting from the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. He also studied composition at the St. Stephen King Conservatory Budapest. His mentors include Mark Stringer, Yuji Yuasa, Ervin Ortner, László Draskóczy, Lawrence Golan, Michael Jinbo, Andrew Constantine, Daniel Harding, Douglas Bostock, Sian Edwards, and Gábor Hollerung.