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Thomas Conlin, Conductor

Opera Reviews

La traviata

“A vibrant La traviata capped the season, dynamically moving and intelligently shaded by Thomas Conlin’s conducting...some of the best orchestral playing in years.”
— Howard Driver, OPERA NEWS

“...in the tender moments, where the orchestra whispered its compassion...”
— M.A. Barnes, AUGUSTA CHRONICLE

“...Conductor Thomas Conlin kept the 55-piece orchestra in near perfect control. They never overpowered the singers, even in the front row. The many passages in which instrumental voice plays a duet with human voice had the same good balance the singers maintained in their ensembles. The solo violin as Violetta reads Germont’s letter and the plaintive oboe in the ‘Addio del passato’ could make angels weep.”
— Dianne Runion, SCRIPPS HOWARD

“Conductor Thomas Conlin and his players were vividly on target throughout, the rapport between Conlin and his singers helping to create intensity.”
— Carol Bryan, OPERA NEWS

“Conductor Thomas Conlin established his worth in the opening measures of the overture. His sensitive handling of the delicate string passages highlighted every nuance. He directed the orchestra to accompany the singers and sacrificed no expression to maintain balance.”
— Richard McKinney, HONOLULU STAR BULLETIN

“The orchestra performed ably under the baton of Maestro Thomas Conlin. The strings in particular achieved a crystalline clarity.”
— Joseph Rothstein, HONOLULU ADVERTISER

“La Traviata featured a sure-handed conductor...under the musical direction of Thomas Conlin the cast kept the focus on the intense emotions of the characters. Under conductor Conlin, the orchestra had impressive control over distinct textures, shown best when the exposed strings smoothly carried the opening of Violetta’s deathbed scene.”
— Byron Belt, NEW YORK NEWSDAY

“The orchestra played beautifully for Thomas Conlin.”
— Jim Becker, OPERA (London)

“Thomas Conlin’s conducting was attentive...”
— Brian Cochran, OPERA NEWS

“Thomas Conlin led the orchestra with assurance.”
— Steven Cornelius, TOLEDO BLADE

Rigoletto

“Conductor Thomas Conlin achieved a consistent marriage of tempos, decibels and voices in a clean, sensitive reading.”
— Carol Bryan, OPERA NEWS

“The orchestra, led by Thomas Conlin, played crisply and in excellent balance with the voices.”
— Milton Granger, ROANOKE TIMES

“Much excitement was generated by Thomas Conlin and his 58-member pit orchestra, but never at the expense of the vocalists. Special mention must be made of Conlin’s finely-etched accompaniments.”
— Bryon Belt, NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE

Amahl and the Night Visitors

“Thomas Conlin conducted a musically smooth performance of the opera.”
— Byron Belt, LONG ISLAND PRESS

“Thomas Conlin’s conducting was well paced.”
— Steven Cornelius, TOLEDO BLADE

La bohème

“Conductor Thomas Conlin led his adept orchestra in a flawless performance that embraced the singers and painted each mood with depth and clarity.”
— Carol Bryan, OPERA NEWS

“Conductor Thomas Conlin offered a sympathetic, unobtrusive and seamless reading of the score.”
— Bob Schwarz, CHARLESTON GAZETTE

“Conlin’s orchestral underpinning laughed and cried along with the characters in the drama...a lively and touching accompaniment.”
— Mary Wells, CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL

“Under Thomas Conlin’s leadership, the orchestra was not merely precise, but was a partner with the singers in this most moving love story.”
— Robert Masullo, SACRAMENTO BEE

“Conductor Thomas Conlin led the orchestra with a light touch. Playing by the Toledo Symphony musicians was nuanced and agile… [The performance] sparkled with vitality and a near constant sense of discovery.”
— Steven Cornelius, TOLEDO BLADE

Il Barbiere di Siviglia

“With the festival tent’s vivid acoustics, the singers’ excellent diction and music’s flawless leadership by conductor Thomas Conlin, Rossini’s opera sparkled and appealed as it rarely can in the operatic barns where it is most often performed.”
— Byron Belt, NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE

“...and Conlin’s orchestra contributed lightness and seamless support.”
— Evelyn Grolan, OPERA NEWS

“An exuberant overture was followed by two hours of the most amazingly exact accompanying ever heard from this orchestra! Bravo Maestro!”
— Jason Simms, OPERA (London)

“Conlin made Rossini’s trifle sound like a great work of art. The orchestra sounded marvelous and supported the vocalists with flair and precision.”
— Greg Harms, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Pagliacci/Gianni Schicchi

“Conductor Thomas Conlin not only kept near-flawless balance but led with the intelligence and sensitivity to show off his singers.”
— Carol Bryan, OPERA NEWS

“Conlin effectively brought out the humor in Gianni Schicchi and the pathos in Pagliacci. The evening was both side-splitting and heart-wrenching.”
— Ron Devlin, OVATION

“Conductor Thomas Conlin seemed perfectly in his element with this rich musical score. He drew large and passionate timbres from the Toledo Symphony musicians.”
– Steven Cornelius, TOLEDO BLADE

“Conductor Thomas Conlin led an idiomatic, passionate reading of the uncut score.”
Alan Montgomery, OPERA NEWS

Don Giovanni

“Musically, the opera was quite a success. Conlin’s tempi were sprightly and his reading was filled with nice touches that subtly underlined the stage action. He carefully followed the opera’s changing moods, from its comic scenes to its moments of tragedy.”
— Patrick Franklin, MONTEREY HERALD

“Under the fluent baton of Thomas Conlin… Toledo Symphony musicians provided sensitive support and enhancement for the production on stage.”
— Sally Vallongo, TOLEDO BLADE

Tosca

“At one with singers and chorus, Thomas Conlin never allowed tempos to contradict in a passionate reading.”
— Carol Bryan, OPERA NEWS

“A powerful Tosca ends the opera year…an electrifying performance… a perfect finale for this successful 2006-2007 season…with sensitive support by the Toledo Symphony, Thomas Conlin conducting...the large cast, chorus and orchestra achieved that rare and wonderful balance of elements in which the dark story unfolded through music that conveyed and enhanced the underlying theme.”
Sally Vallongo, TOLEDO BLADE

“Maestro Thomas Conlin's conducting elicited warm response from the Toledo Symphony…Acts II and III rose to intense dramatic heights.”
Alan Montgomery, OPERA NEWS

Carmen

“The orchestra balanced Bizet’s pastels with his blazing Spanish rhythms.”
— Connie V. Carey, OPERA NEWS

“The orchestra, conducted with vigor by Conlin, was the mood indicator, revealing the colorful emotions and exoticism of Bizet’s score with passion and brilliance.”
— J.D. Foundas, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“Under Conlin’s charge, the musical accuracy of the players was meritorious and blended with a cast on stage that sometimes numbered over a hundred!”
— Rick Justice, CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL

“The frequent matching of offstage forces — like the chorus announcing Escamillo’s entrance in Act II and the bullring band of offstage trumpets and trombones at the conclusion — with the orchestra in the pit worked adroitly.”
— David Williams, CHARLESTON GAZETTE

“Under Thomas Conlin, the Toledo Symphony has never sounded more secure and lyrical…”
Sally Vallongo, TOLEDO BLADE

Il Trovatore

“Tight ensemble singing anchored a solid performance of Verdi’s Il Trovatore...Conductor Conlin’s cast seemed the most consistently matched of any recent production. Not only were solo arias packed with thrilling moments, but the ensemble work had a vigor not easily achieved. The chorus injected energy into several scenes with its pristine ensemble work. Conlin’s orchestra played very well in balance. Even its well-muscled brass never covered the singers.”
— David Williams, CHARLESTON GAZETTE

“Calling the WVSO’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Il Trovatore an artistic extravaganza would be more than a fair assessment. This star-studded drama filled the stage nearly as full as listeners filled the seats. And about the music provided by Thomas Conlin and the orchestra: It was fine. Real fine in fact. And not only the main portions that accompanied the on-stage drama, but the wonderful and brilliant little morsels [from Verdi’s ballet music] that were played during scene changes.”
—  Rick Justice, CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL

“Thomas Conlin’s sensitive hand-in-glove accompaniment allowed his singers to luxuriate in Verdi’s demanding vocal rigors, while he propelled this drama inexorably to its horrible conclusion. West Virginia Symphony’s fully-staged Il Trovatore showcased a well-matched cast of fresh young voices in a wonderfully dark and gloomy interpretation of Verdi’s Gothic tale of revenge. From the ominous opening drum roll through the final curtain, this was an evening of gripping musical theater.”
— J.D. Foundas, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“The orchestra, conducted with clarity and intensity by Thomas Conlin, was alive with emotion, setting free the passions of Verdi’s score with color and dynamic contrast.”
— Connie V. Carey, OPERA NEWS

“Conlin and his players were superb in every way as the sonic underpinnings for the drama.”
Sally Vallongo, TOLEDO BLADE

The Telephone/A Dinner Engagement

“Thomas Conlin conducted the productions skillfully and artistically.”
— Thomas Flowers, CAMBRIDGE BANNER

Faust

“Conductor Thomas Conlin built a tension that was powerfully released in the opera’s climactic final scene. From this performance it was apparent that Conlin has developed a most responsive opera orchestra — able to provide the smoothest carpet of sound in support of onstage voices yet capable of unleashing torrents of volume and fury when appropriate. Gallic charm also figured in his interpretation of Gounod’s score, especially in a lively, buoyant Kermesse...”
— J.D. Foundas, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“Maestro Thomas Conlin guided the orchestra and chorus with intelligent care. The orchestra shone in many quiet passages...the chorus practically breathed fire in the vivid cathedral scene. A sensitively shaped orchestral background gave the old 19th-century warhorse a fresh turn.”
— David Williams, CHARLESTON GAZETTE

“A very large pit orchestra, ably conducted by Thomas Conlin, provided a substantial foundation of music for the singers to solo on. I would never in a million years have figured Charleston for an opera town, and am still amazed at the crowds that it draws. But then again, Conlin, with his Van Dyke beard and flowing hair, albeit a whiter shade of pale, looked for all the world like an elder Mephistopheles. Could this be part of the answer to operatic success and all the other fine performances that the symphony has been turning in lately?  Hmmm.”
— Rick Justice, CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL

“The orchestra responded to Thomas Conlin’s every motion, by turns delicate and impassioned, always with Gallic elegance.”
— Connie V. Carey, OPERA NEWS

“Music created under the baton of conductor Thomas Conlin by members of the Toledo Symphony was lush and elegant. From the pit came both sensitive partnering for solo voices and chorus and emotive ensemble work.”
— Sally Vallongo, TOLEDO BLADE

Le nozze di Figaro

“...conductor Thomas Conlin, who displayed thorough understanding of Mozart style and pace.”
— Carol Bryan, OPERA NEWS

“This was strong, dynamic Mozart: no frills and doilies here! Conlin interpreted this masterpiece with flesh and blood onstage as well as in the orchestra pit.”
— Russell Holmes, MUSICAL AMERICA

“It was immediately clear that Mozart was in good hands with Conlin's fluent direction of the 39-piece orchestra drawn from the very estimable Toledo Symphony.”
– David Shendold, OPERA Magazine (UK)

L’incoronazione di Poppea

“The perfect balance of music and drama, which is inherent in this masterpiece, was tastefully interpreted by conductor Conlin...Throughout the evening the orchestra displayed a technical proficiency and musical warmth which indicated that they were aware of the stylistic demands of the music. Mr. Conlin was careful not to allow the orchestra to cover the soloists.”
— Ray Robinson, BALTIMORE NEWS AMERICAN

“Much credit is due the musical director, Thomas Conlin, for the success. It was obvious that Mr. Conlin knew the score intimately, and he conducted with quiet authority...and he was able to reveal intimate instrumental details in the pit while guiding and supporting the voices flexibly. Under his direction, the orchestra played with textural sensitivity.”
— Elliott Galkin, BALTIMORE SUN

“Bravo to Conlin & Company for making a 300-year-old opera sound new and fresh! Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea is as thrilling to see and hear as any verismo tragedy when presented with the verve and dash of a maestro like young Thomas Conlin! ...and his orchestra sounded glorious!”
— Max de Schauensee, PHILADELPHIA BULLETIN

The Rape of Lucretia

“Thomas Conlin conducted the complex work with a beat so clear that he must have brought joy and confidence to his singers and instrumentalists.”
— French Crawford Smith, OPERA NEWS

“The real positive element was Conlin’s enthusiastic conducting. The orchestra of twelve supported the singers with a proper abundance of tone.”
— Gordon Eby, OPERA (London)

“The production, under the direction of Thomas Conlin, was one of restraint and good taste. The orchestra, with players from the Baltimore Symphony, was conducted by Mr. Conlin, who maintained a brisk tempo and well-shaped instrumental lines. He was responsible for a satisfying performance, notable for its intelligence and understatement.”
— Adelaide Rackemann, MUSICAL AMERICA

The Merry Wives of Windsor

“Thomas Conlin conducted the lovely score with feeling. The overture was nicely shaped and the final scene hinted at musical magic.”
— Larry McGinn, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD

“...the beauty of Nicolai’s music, played with sensitivity by the Syracuse Symphony under the firm direction of Thomas Conlin.”
— William D. West, OPERA NEWS

Lucio Silla

“Friday night, thanks to an energetic and imaginative young man in Baltimore, Lucio Silla had its initial hearing in this country. Thomas Conlin, who two years ago founded the Chamber Opera Society of Baltimore, prepared a new edition of the opera, then rehearsed and conducted it in the Concert Hall of the Peabody Conservatory. Fully staged, the work is eminently worth hearing.”
— Paul Hume, WASHINGTON POST

“Conductor Conlin led his thirty-seven-member orchestra in a finely drawn performance.”
— Gordon M. Eby, OPERA NEWS

“Musically, the performance was of a high professional caliber. The orchestra, from the Baltimore Symphony, under Mr. Conlin’s baton, was excellent.”
— R.P. Harriss, BALTIMORE NEWS AMERICAN

“In the pit, Mr. Conlin conducted an orchestra of members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with disciplined forcefulness. He apparently knew this rather obscure score completely, conducting long stretches last night from memory, and he was able to impose his musical will on the instrumentalist and singers with quiet power, evoking from them phrases which were admirable for their clarity and sense of stylistic discernment. It was Mr. Conlin who has edited the work and supervised all its musical aspects for performance.”
— Elliott Galkin, BALTIMORE SUN

“What impressed us was the resourcefulness of this group, the distinguished approach and dedication that was first felt in the authoritative conducting of Mr. Conlin, and the very high level achieved.”
— Max de Schauensee, PHILADELPHIA BULLETIN                                         

The Turn of the Screw

“...Thomas Conlin's sensitive command of Britten's magical score and the delicacies of pit/stage balance. The fourteen musicians from the Toledo Symphony furnished playing on the highest level.”
– David Shengold, OPERA NEWS

Die Fledermaus

“Thomas Conlin drew fine playing from the orchestra — showing that the season’s excellent start had not been a fluke.”
— David Williams, CHARLESTON GAZETTE

“Johann Strauss’s masterpiece flowed as smoothly as the Danube when the West Virginia Symphony staged — extravagantly — Die Fledermaus. Sparkling under the baton of music director Thomas Conlin, the orchestra glided from waltz to waltz with appropriate Viennese gemütlichkeit.”
— J.D. Foundas, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“Saturday night at the Municipal Auditorium Thomas Conlin and the West Virginia Symphony offered as fine a presentation of this work as you are likely to witness anywhere — perhaps even Vienna. The orchestra was in its usual excellent form, providing musical accompaniment for the singers...and was well received by the audience. This was perhaps the finest moment of this genre that Conlin and the orchestra have produced”
— Rick Justice, CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL

“Star of the evening was the orchestra, thanks to Thomas Conlin, whose heartfelt reading let the grace and lyricism of Strauss’ music soar while achieving crisp exactness with underlying Viennese rhythms.”
— Connie V. Carey, OPERA NEWS

Madama Butterfly

“Thomas Conlin pulled from his orchestra the chamber-music intimacy and sweep of grand passion required by Puccini’s score.”
— Carol Bryan, OPERA NEWS

“Maestro Thomas Conlin revealed himself at the pre-show orientation as a musician with a fine line in psychology. He described the nature of opera as a delineator of feelings which are the essential stuff of all our behavior. His conducting ensured the realization of this and it was a joy to experience his control of orchestra and cast.”
— Roger Hosker, LAS VEGAS SUN

“Thomas Conlin conducted members of the Toledo Symphony in a lively and harmonically transparent performance.”
– Steven Cornelius, TOLEDO BLADE

Falstaff

“The lynch pin that separated failure from success is best-described by Verdi himself: ‘The success of an opera rests most of the time in the hands of the conductor. This person is as necessary as a tenor or a prima donna.’ Conductor Thomas Conlin must be held primarily accountable for the work’s enormous success. Bravo Falstaff!”
— Rick Justice, CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL

“Falstaff is a charm for the Charleston crowd. Maestro Thomas Conlin’s conducting kept that comedy in fine balance with the many moments of soaring melody. Conlin, with orchestra and Symphony Chorus in fine form all night, drew lucent textures in the big ensembles that closed each act.”
— David Williams, CHARLESTON GAZETTE

“Artistic director Thomas Conlin cast well-blended voices for West Virginia Symphony’s fully staged Falstaff. Under his exacting yet sensitive baton Verdi’s autumnal masterpiece was vibrantly presented. Conlin and his responsive orchestra underlined the drama and gave Verdi’s score virtuosic cohesiveness and grace.”
— J.D. Foundas, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“Thomas Conlin conducted his orchestra in a lively, richly detailed reading.”
— Connie V. Carey, OPERA NEWS

Sweeney Todd

“Thomas Conlin conducted the Toledo Symphony Orchestra in a stirring performance.”
—  Alan Montgomery, OPERA NEWS

Così fan tutte

“Conductor Thomas Conlin led both orchestra and vocalists with sensitivity. Pacing was bright but never hurried. The night was a smashing success.”
— Steven Cornelius, TOLEDO BLADE

“The orchestra ... was nimble and colorful under the direction of Thomas Conlin. The music making was astute ... the pacing sprightly.”
— Steven Cornelius, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

The Crucible

“Thomas Conlin conducted the Toledo Symphony Orchestra in a lyrical, committed performance."
— Alan Montgomery, OPERA NEWS

Die Walküre

“In his pre-concert lecture, Conlin called Act I of ‘Die Walküre’ the single greatest act in all the Wagner operas. ‘It’s all there,’ he said, ‘the grand emotions that can best be represented operatically, Wagner’s most convincing use of the leitmotiv, and the ideal balance of music and poetry.’ Conlin’s pacing brought out all these attributes and yielded spellbinding musical drama. Conlin’s conducting allowed the soloists to be heard without effort. Even in Wagner’s grandest climaxes the orchestra played with precision and balance.”
— J.D. Foundas, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“Conductor Thomas Conlin has always had a strong interest in opera, so it was no surprise when he ended his 17-year leadership of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra with an all-Wagner program, including a concert version of Act I of ‘Die Walküre’ and choruses from ‘Lohengrin,’ ‘Tannhäuser’ and ‘Die Meistersinger.’ The orchestra...played with assurance...Conlin kept the details balanced. Certainly the web of leitmotifs... sounded as part of a convincing structure, dramatic and symphonic.

“Some moments were really memorable: the opening storm music; the rumbling fanfare for tubas that announces Hunding’s arrival; the tapestry of strings, harp and winds that accompanies the blossoming of spring; the burgeoning bugle calls... Conlin drew a rich welter of sound.”
— David Williams, THE CHARLESTON GAZETTE

“Act I of ‘Die Walküre’ provided a splendid finale to West Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s 62nd season. The occasion marked the end of the 17-year tenure of artistic director and conductor Thomas Conlin, whose vision and energy transformed a community orchestra into one of the nation’s finest regional ensembles. Among Conlin’s credits is the WVSO’s distinction of being the only American symphonic organization to regularly present its own fully-staged opera productions... The balance of the program consisted of great choral scenes from Wagner operas... For these the WVSO was joined by [soloists] and the WVSO Chorus (which Conlin founded in 1985)... [which] sang with clarity and excellent diction.

“The orchestra, under Conlin, played throughout the evening with verve and commitment, notably the large brass section augmented by four Wagner tuben for ‘Die Walküre.’ So realistically did Conlin conjure the opening storm that I found myself reaching for my umbrella!"
— Connie V. Carey, OPERA NEWS

Don Pasquale

“Under the baton of Thomas Conlin, the Toledo Symphony caught and held the spirit of the music brilliantly.”
Sally Vallongo, TOLEDO BLADE

Cavalleria Rusticana

“Thomas Conlin, conductor, draws forth plenty of Sicilian pathos from the musicians…”
Sally Vallongo, TOLEDO BLADE

Roméo et Juliette

“Thomas Conlin led a stirring account of the score… paced with a sure hand.”
Alan Montgomery, OPERA NEWS

“… conducted by Thomas Conlin… a tender interpretation…The chorus produced a rich and resonant sound and provided the necessary color… The Toledo Symphony provided sensitive accompaniment throughout.”
Sally Vallongo, TOLEDO BLADE