Powerfully compelling, Deanna Tham is known for her captivating and tenacious spirit on and off the podium. Appointed the Omaha Symphony’s Assistant Conductor in spring of 2021, Tham began her inaugural season as Music Director with the Union Symphony Orchestra (Monroe, N.C.) in 2020-2021, a season that also marked her fourth as Assistant Conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony and Principal Conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras.
As recently as 2019, Tham has performed at the Proms in Royal Albert Hall, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, and Seiji Ozawa Hall at the Tanglewood Music Center working with Maestros James Ross, Joseph Young, and Sir Antonio Pappano, as well as renowned artists Isobel Leonard and Joyce DiDonato. Highlights of the 2019-2020 season also included leading the Jacksonville Symphony’s first educational Martin Luther King Jr. tribute concert and the Union Symphony’s first city-community Pops on the Plaza collaboration of Latin American pop and classical music. Additional recent engagements include Assistant Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra (NYO-USA and NYO2) and Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Sinfonietta with Maestro Mei-Ann Chen. Tham has also regularly guest conducted with the Boise Philharmonic and Ballet Idaho and worked with soloists including Melissa White.
Tham is also equally at home with a variety of musical genres. These projects include full-feature blockbuster movie scores, collaborations with Cirque Musica and pops groups like Cherish the Ladies and Jeans ’n’ Classics, and independent artists like Silent Film Score connoisseur and composer, Ben Model.
Tham is a staunch advocate of music education from 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 is a second-place winner in the Youth Orchestra Conductor division of the American Prize. Tham was invited as a scholarship participant to the 2015 Conductors Guild Conductor/Composer Training Workshop at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music working with renowned conductors Marin Alsop and James Ross. Additionally, she was the recipient of the 2015 Wintergreen Summer Music Academy Conductor’s Guild Scholarship where she worked with Master Teacher Victor Yampolsky. In 2013, Tham made her debut with the National Music Festival. Her work with the festival has been featured on National Public Radio as well as American Public Media. She has also made appearances at the Cadaques Orchestra International Conducting Competition.
Previously, Tham was the Music Director of the American Chamber Orchestra. Her work with the company includes a groundbreaking semi-staged version of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, staged in English for the South Chicago community. During her time with the company, she worked with many talented musicians, including those who sing with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She made great strides making the company a strong presence in the Chicago area and has sold recordings of her work with the company on iTunes.
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 in conducting with conducting program honors from Northwestern University studying with Dr. Mallory Thompson. There, she additionally worked with Dr. Robert Harris, 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.