Bio

Claude Lucien Thomas, Director


Claude Lucien Thomas, Director, Arranger, Saxophonist

Claude Lucien Thomas studied music in Toledo, Ohio under the guidance of Oliver Nelson disciple, Augustus T. Walker. During high school he was accepted into the prestigious saxophone studio of Lou Marini Sr. at Bowling Green State University becoming the only non-university student selected for study. Many honors followed including outstanding soloist awards and principal saxophone honors at All State Band and Jazz performances. Mr. Thomas accepted a music scholarship to the Ohio State University completing Undergraduate, Masters, and Postgraduate work. After completing his initial year of music study at The Ohio State University, Mr. Thomas joined the Ray Charles Big Band at the age of nineteen as an alto saxophone player. After a short stint with the great bandleader, he returned to complete his music studies at The Ohio State University. During his masters program at The Ohio State University, Mr. Thomas accepted a position, teaching saxophone at Kenyon College and performed with the Knox County Symphony in Gambier, Ohio. After graduation Mr. Thomas began work in the Dayton Public Schools working in the recently developed Magnet Arts program.

Claude Lucien began the Jazz Studies program at the Stivers School for the Arts in 1994. Beginning in 2000 the group has been awarded Grand Prize honors at the Findley Jazz Festival, the St. Peter Jazz Festival, and the Lincoln Park Fraze Pavilion Jazzfest. In 2004, 2008 and 2011 the Stivers Jazz Orchestra won the Berklee High School Jazz Festival in Boston Massachusetts, the largest Jazz festival for high schools in the world. Mr. Thomas’ groups have appeared as the premier act at the Tri-C invitational in Cleveland, Ohio, performed with Mulgrew Miller and Steve Wilson at the Cityfolk Jazz Series, with the Terrell Stafford Quintet in “Celebrating the music of Billy Strayhorn” and recently opened at the AT&T stage for Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at the Schuster Center. In March, the Stivers Jazz Orchestra performed on the most famous concert stage “Jazz at Lincoln Center” in New York, opening for the Manhattan Concert Production Jazz Festival. The group has performed with Oliver Nelson Jr., Paul Ferguson, Maynard Ferguson, Diane Shuur, Al Parr, Steve Wilson, Terrell Stafford, Mulgrew Miller, Rufus Reid, Joanne Brackeen, Chris Vadala, Bob Beldon, Dick Oatts, Eric Alexander, Miguel Zenon, Conrad Herwig, Luis Perdomo, Cindy Blackmon, Poncho Sanchez, Steve Turre, Bill Cunliffe, Bruce Barth, David Benoit, Roberta Piket, Joanne, Ravi Coltrane and many times with Derrick Gardner.

The Stivers Jazz Orchestra has recorded five disc including “Just Listen and Dig”, “3,2,1,0”, “Swingin’ on Green Dolphin Street”, and “Soundpiece for Jazz Orchestra”. Work is now complete on the most recent recording, “From Boston to New York”.

Academic Background

2011 Master Certificate in Orchestration for Film and TV
Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts

2006 Specialist Certificate in Arranging
Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts

1986 Master of Music in Woodwind Pedagogy
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

1982 Bachelor of Music Education
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio