April 11, 2019


The American pianist and conductor Thomas Wise was educated at the Interlochen Arts Academy in his native Michigan. As a scholarship student of Bartok-pupil György Sándor, he received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at The Juilliard School in New York. Awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1990, he came to Germany to study with Aloys Kontarsky in Cologne, finishing his studies with the Konzertexamen degree. Further studies followed with Peter Feuchtwanger in London. Conducting masterclass with Finnish Master Teacher Jorma Panula.

Thomas has appeared as piano soloist, chamber musician, lied-recitalist, or conductor at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Kölner Musiktriennale, Ludwigsburger Festspiele, Dresdner Musikfestival, Hamburger Musikfest, and Montepulciano Festival. He has performed at the Kölner Philharmonie, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, and London´s Royal Albert Hall, among others. Recordings of works by Chopin, Weill, Albeniz, Theodorakis, and Ives document the flexibility of his musical interests.

As a pedagogue, Thomas taught from 1993-2000 at the opera school of the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, as well as being invited as a guest faculty member at the Opera Studio Netherlands in Amsterdam. Thomas was engaged as a vocal coach at the Hamburg State Opera from 2001-2004, where he coached some of the world´s great singers.

From 2004-2016 Thomas was engaged as conductor as well as Head of Music at Bonn Opera. He directed the world-premiere of Steffen Schleiermacher´s “Kokain” as well as a wide repertoire of operas by Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Britten, Humperdinck, Donizetti, Rossini, and J. Strauss. He was the musical director for Werner Schroeter´s acclaimed production of Thomas Adès “Powder Her Face” in 2009.

As guest-conductor he appeared with the WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln as well as the State Youth Orchestra of Nordrhein-Westfalen, conducting two 10-concert tours as well as a CD recording. In 2009 Thomas made his successful debut at the Norwegian National Opera, leading Dvorak’s “Rusalka” at the new Oslo opera house. At the invitation of Ingo Metzmacher he conducted Mauricio Kagel´s “Oral Treason”for the Hamburg Musikfest.


In February 2010, Thomas Wise debuted in Carnegie Recital Hall as Lied-partner of soprano Brenda Roberts. Christoph Genz, Aris Argiris, Anne Gjevang, Tamás Tarjányi and Anja Harteros are just some of the many artists with whom he has presented Lieder concerts. His repertoire in Lied encompasses the major cycles of Schubert, Schumann, and Mahler. With Giorgos Kanaris he has recorded Beethoven “An die ferne Geliebte” and Schubert “Schwanengesang” for a CD which was released by Hänssler Classics in 2017.

Thomas Wise leads a continuous opera project with the Jugendorchester Rheinland and members of Concerto Köln. After Purcell´s “Dido & Aeneus” (2013) and Handel´s “Acis, Galatea e Polifemo” (2015) John Blow´s “Venus & Adonis” was presented in October, 2016 in Bonn.

Since August 2018 Thomas has led the Music Department at Theater Basel as Head of Music. His production of “La Cage aux Folles” has garnered ovations from audiences and critics alike.

In 2018 Thomas conducted the Klassische Philharmonie Bonn in two different concert programs in Berlin, Wiesbaden, Karlsruhe, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Hannover, Hamburg, Nuremberg and Bielefeld.