Thomas Piercy is an American clarinetist based in New York City and Tokyo, Japan. Although he studied in the United States, his playing style is heavily influenced by the English school of clarinet playing by his extensive studies with English clarinet virtuoso Gervase de Peyer.
He has performed and premiered many contemporary pieces written for him, including Grammy Award winning and Pulitzer Prize winning American composer Ned Rorem's only piece for clarinet and piano. He premiered this piece - "Four Colors" - at an 80th birthday concert celebration for Rorem at Carnegie Hall in 2003.
In addition to being a performer of classical and contemporary music, as a teacher he has contributed to books on clarinet studies and clarinet fingerings. He performs on rare large bore, rosewood clarinets hand made for him by Luis Rossi, and Buffet Prestige clarinets with Opperman mouthpieces and barrels.
He studied clarinet, voice and acting at Virginia Commonwealth University, Shenandoah Conservatory (with Dr. Stephen Johnston), Mannes College of Music and the Juilliard School. He studied clarinet in New York City with Gervase De Peyer and noted American teachers Leon Russianoff and Kalmen Opperman.
A versatile artist defying categorization – performing on the Emmy Award-winning Juno Baby CDs and DVDs; playing Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Earl Wild; performing concert improvisations with pianist Donal Fox; performing Mozart with mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade; playing Broadway songs with Raoul Julia; conducting Cabaret or Rodgers & Hammerstein; working with the composer Leonard Bernstein; appearing in a KRS-ONE music video; recording with members of Maroon 5; - as an instrumentalist, singer, director and music director/conductor and actor, he has performed for Broadway and Off-Broadway, television, radio, video and commercial recordings.
Mr. Piercy has performed at many of the worlds acclaimed concerts halls including Carnegie Hall (NY, NY), Lincoln Center (NY, NY), the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC.), the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series (Chicago, Illinois), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Wigmore Hall (London, England), Accademia di Santa Cecilia (Rome, Italy) and Parthenon (Tokyo, Japan).
He has performed several times at the International Clarinet Festival, the world's largest annual gathering of noted clarinetists, including a concert in memory of Russianoff in 1991 and a concert of contemporary American music in Japan in 2005, and an all -Ástor Piazzolla program at the 2007 International Clarinet Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
A recipient of numerous scholarships, prizes and awards, he studied clarinet, voice and conducting at the Juilliard School, Mannes College of Music, Virginia Commonwealth University and Shenandoah Conservatory. Piercy's earliest studies were in both voice and clarinet. He began his college education studying clarinet under Dr. Stephen Johnston at Shenandoah Conservatory and Gailyn Parks at Virginia Commonwealth University. He later moved to New York City to study with Gervase De Peyer under scholarship at Mannes College of Music; he continued to study extensively with De Peyer after leaving Mannes. Piercy later studied with and soon became an assistant to the renowned clarinet pedagogue Leon Russianoff; additional clarinet studies and reed-making studies were undertaken with clarinetist, reed, barrel and mouthpiece maker, and composer Kalmen Opperman. He has had arrangements and transcriptions published by Boosey & Hawkes, and as an assistant to Kalmen Opperman, he contributed to clarinet study books and clarinet compositions published by Carl Fischer, Inc., and Baron Publishing. In demand as a clarinet, sax and voice teacher, many of Piercy's students have gone on to schools and careers in music.
Mr. Piercy is currently the Artistic Director and clarinetist of the Gotham Ensemble. A mixed vocal and instrumental ensemble based in New York City, the Gotham Ensemble premieres, performs and records a wide variety of repertoire, from the Classical to the avant-garde. A New York Times review of Gotham's Merkin Hall, New York City, performance of a program of Olav Thommessen's music specifically encouraged the public to go out and purchase the recordings. After a performance of Ned Rorem's "Ariel" at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Mr. Rorem wrote of Gotham as one of America's important chamber music groups performing new music today. Albany Records released “Gotham Ensemble Plays Ned Rorem” - a CD of Ned Rorem's chamber music featuring the clarinet.
A frequent performer of new music, Mr. Piercy has premiered over 100 new pieces composed for him. The works, for clarinet, bass clarinet or hichiriki, include solo pieces, duos, trios, quartets, larger mixed ensembles, concertos and double concertos. They include a wide variety of styles of music, from contemporary classical to Japanese avant-garde; from the abstract to minimalism; from J-pop to jazz-influenced pieces. Piercy has had the opportunity to work with many of these composers. The composers have ranged from 18 to 93 years of age. They come from all walks of life and experience: from university students to university professors; from self-taught composers to composers with Ph.Ds; from emerging composers to composers that have won such prominent awards as the Takemitsu Prize, Grammy Award, Latin Grammy Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.
Ned Rorem, a Pulitzer Prize winner and Grammy Award-winning composer, wrote his only clarinet and piano piece, "Four Colors," for Mr. Piercy. The work had its premier at an 80th birthday concert celebration for Mr. Rorem at Carnegie Hall in the fall of 2003. A short list of the composers he has worked with and premiered their works (many of them written for him) include Milton Babbit, Allan Blank, Ed Bland, Philippe Bodin, Wendy Mae Chambers, Elisenda Fábregas, David Fetherolf, Donal Fox, Daron Hagen, Gilbert Galindo, Nicolas Gilbert, Masatora Goya, Jennifer Higdon, Silas Huff, Benjamin Lees, Yuichi Matsumoto, Jun Nagao, Takeshi Ogawa, Sergey Oskolkov, Joseph Perhson, Jonathan Pieslak, André Ristic, Robert Xavier Rodriguez, Erin Rogers, Manly Romero, Ned Rorem, Marjorie Rusche, Allen Schulz, Hifumi Shimoyama, Olav Anton Thommessen, and many others.
Recent premiers include works by the following composers:
Armando Ayala, AYUO, Milton Babbit, Trevor Bachman, Rodrigo Baggio, 坂野嘉彦 Yoshihiko Banno, Greg Bartholomew, Richard Rodney Bennett, Jean-Patrick Besingrand, Helga Beier, John Bilotta, Gordon Francis Blaney, Jr., Allan Blank, Ed Bland, Philippe Bodin, David Bohn, Scott Brickman, Julius Bucsis, Canary Burton, Oliver Cameron, Wendy Mae Chambers, Young-Shin Choi, William Coble, Andy Cohen, Steve Cohen, 大胡恵 Kei Daigo, Douglas DaSilva, Andrew Davis, Malcolm Dedman, David Del Tredici, Nick Didkovsky, Dominic Dousa, Alan Elkins, Elisenda Fabrégas, David Fetherolf, Dagmar Feyen, Donal Fox, Jim Fox, Michael Frazier, Daron Hagen, Gilbert Galindo, Lyudmilla German, Adam Giese, Nicolas Gilbert, Jacob Goodman, 合屋正虎 Masatora Goya, David Heuser, Jennifer Higdon, 平山 智 Tomo Hirayama, Joel Hobbs, Kevin Holland, 細川 俊夫 Toshio Hosokawa, Cindi Hsu, Silas Huff, 井上一平 Ippei Inoue, 石井美栄子 Mieko Ishii, 伊藤美由紀 Miyuki Ito, 岩岡一志 Kazushi Iwaoka, Kento Iwasaki, Wang Jie, JP Jofre, Shigeru Kan-no, Emil Khoury, 橘川琢 Migaku Kitsukawa, Steven Kreamer, Yohei Kurihara, Tim Labor, Paul Yeon Lee, Benjamin Lees, Elizabeth Lim, David Loeb, Joshua Banks Mailman, Eli Marshall, 松本祐一 Yuichi Matsumoto, Peri Mauer, Daniel Mihai, 三界秀実 Hidemi Mikai, Dom Minasi, 見澤ゆかり Yukari Misawa, Luigi Morleo, 長生 淳 Jun Nagao, 中堀海都 Kaito Nakahori, James Soe Nyun, Sean O'Boyle, Takeshi Ogawa, 小栗克裕 Katsuhiro Oguri, 大江千里 Senri Oe, 大羽田 大輔 Daisuke Ohata, Lucas Oickle, Sergey Oskolkov, Fernando Otero, Joseph Perhson, Troy Peters, Jonathan Pieslak, Russell Platt, Gene Pritsker, Dana Richardson, André Ristic, Aaron Robinson, Robert Xavier Rodriguez, Erin Rogers, Manly Romero, Paul Anthony Romero, Ned Rorem, Michael Rose, Richard Rosenfeld, Marjorie Rusche, Michael Schelle, Brian Schober, Edward Schocker, Allen Schulz, Thomas Schuttenhelm, 清水チャートリーChatori Shimizu, 下山一二三 Hifumi Shimoyama, Bob Siebert, Nina Siniakova, John Spartan, Steven Serpa, Bob Siebert, Samuel Stokes, David Su, 鈴木治行 Haruyuki Suzuki, 田口和行 Kazuyuki Taguchi, 鷹羽弘晃 Hiroaki Takaha, Olav Anton Thommessen, Daniel Thompson, Ruben Toledo, Douglas Townsend, 壺井 一歩 Ippo Tsuboi, 内田輝 Akira Uchida, 宇澤とも子 Tomoko Uzawa, Benjamin Williams, Russell Wimbish, David Wolfson, Donald Reid Womack, Rain Worthington, 薮田翔一 Shoichi Yabuta, 山口恭子 Kyoko Yamaguchi, 山本 哲也 Tetsuya Yamamoto, 吉仲 淳 Atsushi Yoshinaka.
TOKYO TO NEW YORK 東京 と ニューヨーク
"Tokyo to New York" concerts - under the direction of Thomas Piercy - include a wide variety of styles of music, from Japanese avant-garde to American contemporary classical, minimalism, neo-Romantic, tango- nuevo, J-pop and jazz-influenced pieces. Since 2005, clarinetist and hichiriki player Thomas Piercy has lived in both NYC and Tokyo and has had the opportunity to work with many of the Japanese and American composers programmed in these concerts.
Following a 2011 call for scores for non-Japanese composers influenced or inspired by Japan ("Nihon no shiten - 日本の視点" - Japanese perspective"), a diverse program was selected from established and emerging composers and these pieces were premiered by Thomas Piercy in New York City in 2012. This concert was followed with a 2012 call for scores asking Tokyo-based composers to write pieces based on their thoughts about NYC. The selected compositions were given their world premiers in Tokyo in January, 2013, and their United States premiers in NYC in 2013. Another "Call for Scores" was completed in 2013 and twelve compositions by Tokyo-based composers were selected for their World Premiers in Tokyo, Japan in January, 2014. The "Tokyo to New York" concert series have continued since then, and since 2012, “Tokyo to New York” has performed over 60 world premiers, and numerous Japan premiers and United State premiers.
Thomas Piercy's discography includes "Gotham Ensemble Plays Ned Rorem", a CD of chamber music featuring the clarinet (released by Albany Records), "CAFE", a CD of music for clarinet and guitar (released by Tonada Records), the world-premier recording of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's "Ballad in Memory of Shirley Horn" and the Emmy Award winning CD and DVD "Juno Baby." He can also be heard on commercials, film and theater recordings.