Thomas Lanners has appeared as a solo and collaborative pianist and clinician throughout the U.S. and abroad, presenting his New York solo debut in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2004. His performances have been broadcast nationally and internationally on programs such as American Public Media’s Performance Today, RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Miscellany in Ireland and BBC3 in London, among many others. Designated the 2014 Distinguished Music Teacher by the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association, he currently serves as Professor of Piano at Oklahoma State University.
Thomas has performed, presented master classes, and given lectures on various musical topics as a guest artist throughout the United States, in Mexico, Canada, Europe and Asia. In the summer of 2018 he served on the faculties of the Shanghai International Piano Festival and Institute and the AmiCaFest piano festival in Sicily. In 2017 he presented master classes at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea and the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China, and in 2016 gave classes at the Shanghai Conservatory, the Conservatory's Middle School, the Zhejiang Conservatory and East China Normal University. Thomas presented a master class and recital to conclude Beijing Normal University’s 2015 International Music Week. The past five years, at the invitation of the Chair of the Piano Division at the Shanghai Conservatory, Lanners has participated in a mini-festival for student pianists who wish to study in the United States. He has twice served as a judge for the final round of the Shanghai Open Piano Competition. Thomas gave a master class on the NYU Steinhardt School of Music’s Piano Artist Master Class Series in 2012 and served as a performer, master class clinician and adjudicator at the Lee University International Piano Festival and Competition in Tennessee.
Some of the institutions he has visited as a guest artist include the Eastman School of Music, the Universities of Texas-Austin, Colorado-Boulder, North Texas, Miami (FL), South Carolina, Oklahoma, Western Ontario (Canada), Iowa, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, Central Arkansas, and Missouri-Columbia; Northwestern, Syracuse, Louisiana State, Southern Methodist, Auburn, Wichita State, Kansas State, Iowa State, George Mason and Baylor Universities; the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and the Unidad Académica de Artes de la Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas in Mexico. In addition, Lanners has played solo recitals in Brussels and Gent, Belgium, performed on the Classical Mondays recital series in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, at the OK Mozart International Festival, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, and in Bangkok and Hua-Hin, Thailand.
Thomas’ CD, Ned Rorem: The Three Piano Sonatas, was released by Centaur Records in 2007. Links to three tracks on the recording were included in an October 2018 article in the New York Times on the occasion of Rorem's 95th birthday. Mark Lehman, in an American Record Guide review, wrote of the Sonatas disc: “It’s especially pleasing to have all three of Rorem’s sonatas on one disc, superbly played by Thomas Lanners, and in clear, vivid sound. … Anyone who cares about mainstream 20th Century piano music should seek out this superlative recording.” In a review of his 2005 release, Touches of Bernstein: The Complete Published Piano Music of Leonard Bernstein, critic Jed Distler wrote for ClassicsToday.com: "Thomas Lanners totally understands this music, pointing up the jazzy qualities to idiomatic perfection as well as projecting Bernstein’s lyrical generosity without milking it … All told, Lanners' loving mastery easily holds its own in any company. Warmly recommended."
Lanners’ latest recording, Ned Rorem: Piano Works, Volume 2, was also released worldwide on the Centaur label. The disc has received much critical praise, including the following from respected critic Donald Rosenberg’s review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “The piano pieces on this fine recording attest to Rorem’s penchant for lyrical and dramatic contrast. … Thomas Lanners brings exceptional detail and urgency to the repertoire, taking as much care with inner voices as he does with arching statements. Grade: A.” Robert Schulslaper wrote, in a Fanfare magazine review of both Rorem volumes: “Lanners plays [all the virtuoso pieces] to the hilt … and he’s also a sensitive musician who communicates the essence of Rorem’s varied moods.”
Thomas was awarded a grant in 2010, through the Centaur label, from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording to record works of Pulitzer winner Ross Lee Finney, having also received a Copland grant for his first Rorem CD. His championing of American piano music was the topic of an interview article, titled “Pianist Thomas Lanners: Spreading the Good Word,” in a 2010 issue of Fanfare.
Always in demand as a clinician, he presented sessions at the 2009, 2005, and 2001 Music Teachers National Association conferences, and will do so again in 2019; the 2015, 2010, 2008, and 2000 Oklahoma Music Teachers Association conferences; and conferences of the Texas MTA (2016 and 2012) and the College Music Society’s South Central Chapter. Thomas will give a lecture, for the sixth consecutive year, for the 2019 MusicEdConnect.com National Conference, a four-day online event in February that includes sessions from numerous respected piano pedagogues. He gave a lecture as one of three featured guests during the inaugural International Conference on Education, Culture and Arts (Congreso Internacional de Educación, Cultura y Artes) in Zacatecas, Mexico, and presented sessions at Eastman’s Summer Chamber Music Institute.
In the realm of collaborative piano, he has performed with Walfrid Kujala, former Northwestern University professor of flute and Chicago Symphony member, Richard MacDowell, professor of clarinet at the University of Texas at Austin, and Nancy Ambrose King, professor of oboe at the University of Michigan. He also collaborated with Leone Buyse, professor of flute at Rice University and former Principal Flutist, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops.
He is an active writer on musical topics, with several feature articles having been published in American Music Teacher magazine, MTNA’s refereed journal. He has also authored articles for Clavier magazine and the piano pedagogy e-newsletter Soundpoint.
Lanners served as one of three jurors for the 5th Mozart International Piano Competition in Bangkok, Thailand in July 2015, and for the inaugural Kuleshov International Piano Competition in 2016. Thomas has adjudicated at MTNA’s West Central and South Central Division piano competitions, the Eastman School’s International Piano Competition for High School Students, and for numerous competitions in Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.
One of Dr. Lanners' former OSU students, Chul Hyung (Tony) Cho, joined the faculty of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in 2015 as an opera coach. Tony previously worked at the Juilliard School as an Associate Opera Coach, then coached operas at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and at Chapman University outside Los Angeles. Former student Christopher Reed holds a position as Vocal/Opera Coach at Colorado State University. Christopher is pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Collaborative Piano at the Eastman School, having completed his Master’s degree there as well. Other students have been accepted into graduate piano degree programs at Eastman, the Universities of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Southern California, Kansas, Missouri-Kansas City, and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. They have had success in numerous competitions, winning Oklahoma MTA Collegiate competitions (including first place winners in 2018, 2016, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2006, 2005, and 2003, and numerous runners-up) and state wins in the MTNA Collegiate Artist competitions (including a national finalist in the String Chamber Music category in 2013), MTNA Senior Artist winners (most recently in 2018, 2010 and 2009), and MTNA Junior Artist winners in 2016 and 2015.
Lanners received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Piano Performance and Literature from the Eastman School as a student of Barry Snyder. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude as a student of Leonidas Lipovetsky at Florida State University, where he won the Brautlecht Award as the School’s Outstanding Rising Senior. He also studied under John Perry at the Aspen Music Festival and Jerome Lowenthal at the Music Academy of the West, and has performed in master classes for such renowned artists as Pascal Devoyon, Jeffrey Kahane, Dominique Merlet, Anton Nel, Cécile Ousset, and Nelita True.
Hear Thomas Lanners Perform:
J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue No. 11 in F major (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2)
Brahms: Variation 4-8 from the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, opus 24
Bernstein: Four Anniversaries
Rorem: Sonata No. 1 (Movement III - Toccata)
Rorem: Barcarolle No. 3
American Record Guide Nov. / Dec. 2007 review of "Ned Rorem: The Three Piano Sonatas"
St. Petersburg Times May 3rd, 2009 review of “Ned Rorem: Piano Works, Vol. 2”
Cleveland Plain Dealer June 21, 2009 review of “Ned Rorem: Piano Works, Vol. 2”
Fanfare Magazine January/February 2010 review of both Ned Rorem CDs
Feature Articles by Thomas Lanners:
"Equal Opportunity Coaching: Tips for Coaching Vocal and Instrumental Collaborations with Pianists”, published in the April-May 2010 issue of American Music Teacher magazine
"The Art of Teaching Master Classes: A Collaboration Between Teacher, Students and Audience", published in the October-November 2012 issue of American Music Teacher magazine
"With our Eyes Closed", published in the April-May 2015 issue of the American Music Teacher magazine