RELEASE: Deanna Tham Named Assistant Conductor of the Omaha Symphony

Tham Assumes Role After Four Seasons with Jacksonville Symphony

OMAHA, Neb., June 29, 2020 — The Omaha Symphony has named Deanna Tham as the orchestra’s assistant conductor beginning in the 2021-22 season, effective July 2021. Tham comes to Omaha after serving four seasons as assistant conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony and principal conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras.

“Deanna is an incredibly gifted conductor who brings a wealth of experiences and passion to the Omaha Symphony and its broader community,” said Omaha Symphony Music Director Designate Ankush Kumar Bahl. “From the moment I saw her in front of the orchestra, I knew it was not only her powerful conducting but also her ability to connect so effortlessly with the musicians during the rehearsal that made her a perfect fit. During our discussions offstage, it was clear how much she deeply cared about education and outreach, so I look forward to seeing what she brings to our ever-expanding community engagement initiatives, in addition to our mainstage programming. I can’t wait for you all to meet her!”

As assistant conductor, Tham will be responsible for conducting one of three Omaha Symphony Family Concerts and helping to spearhead artistic planning of education programs. Additionally, she will help shape and conduct most of the orchestra’s education and community-driven projects. Tham will work closely with Omaha Symphony Director of Education and Community Engagement Liz Kendall Weisser on designing innovative programs that will serve the needs of the community’s students and educators. In addition to the in-person programming the Omaha Symphony offers each year, Tham will help continue investment in digital education initiatives that began as a result of the pandemic and expanded access to these programs across the state of Nebraska and beyond.

Tham will also work closely with Music Director Ankush Kumar Bahl and Resident & Principal Pops Conductor Ernest Richardson, studying each program and offering artistic feedback in the rehearsal process. In addition to serving as a cover conductor, ready to be called upon in the case Bahl, Richardson, or any guest conductor is unable to perform, Tham will also lead the orchestra in Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture in the final Masterworks performances.

“I am so honored and excited to begin working with the Omaha Symphony this upcoming season,” said Tham. “There is something so special about the artistry of this group that was evident as soon as I conducted them at my audition. It is clear that the orchestra’s commitment to superb musicianship comes from a deep and authentic desire to connect with the community through their work. The Omaha Symphony musicians and staff have such a clear idea of what it means to be Omaha’s orchestra and are wholly committed to it – I’m looking forward to becoming the best artist I can working with this group and am excited to join the team and community!”

About Deanna Tham

Deanna Tham is known for her captivating and tenacious spirit on and off the podium. In addition to her position with the Jacksonville Symphony, Tham serves as Music Director of the Union Symphony Orchestra, a directorship she will maintain alongside her duties with the Omaha Symphony. She has led orchestras across the country and internationally, appearing at the Proms in Royal Albert Hall, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood Music Center working with Maestros James Ross, Joseph Young and Sir Antonio Pappano as well as renowned artists Isobel Leonard and Joyce DiDonato. Tham has also regularly guest conducted with the Boise Philharmonic and Ballet Idaho and worked with soloists including Melissa White.

Tham is a staunch advocate for music education, lending her leadership to efforts supporting school education engagement and youth orchestral performing opportunities to lifelong learning. In 2018, Tham and the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras made their debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. Previously, she has worked with the Louisville Youth Orchestras and the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Tham has also created and presented educational concert series in a variety of formats; she has written original school-curriculum-based programs and collaborated with organizations including Really Inventive Stuff, the Louisville Ballet Academy, and the International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute.

Tham holds a Professional Studies Certificate from the Cleveland Institute of Music in Orchestral Conducting studying with Maestro Carl Topilow. She received her Master of Music degree in conducting with conducting program honors from Northwestern University studying with Dr. Mallory Thompson. There, she also worked with Dr. Robert Harris, former Omaha Symphony Music Director Victor Yampolsky and Dr. Robert Hasty, making her equally at home in wind, orchestral and vocal settings. Tham received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in horn performance studying with Dennis Abelson, Zachary Smith, Bob Lauver and Steven Kostyniak at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Omaha Symphony is a non-profit organization that presents more than 100 live orchestral performances from September through June. Through its Masterworks, Symphony Pops, Symphony Rocks, Movies, Symphony Joslyn, and Family series concerts, the orchestra plays for more than 40,000 people each year. The Omaha Symphony’s nationally recognized education and community engagement programs touch the lives of 24,000 students and over 1,000 educators from nearly 300 schools throughout Nebraska and western Iowa each year. The organization partners with social service agencies, arts groups and academic organizations across the metro to provide engaging programs for thousands of individuals diverse in age, background and opportunity. For tickets or information regarding the Omaha Symphony, call 402-345-0606 or visit Programs, artists, dates, times, prices, and availability are subject to change.

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