Martha Thomas

Despy Karlas Professor of Piano and Associate Director for Undergraduate Programs
Piano
Office: 
543
706-542-2232

Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, Martha Thomas is the Despy Karlas Professor of Piano and Associate Director for Undergraduate Programs at the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music. Thomas has been praised for the "lyrical beauty of her playing" and "her mastery of rhythmic and textural complexities," all while giving "first-rate performances". She maintains an active career as performer and clinician, giving concerts and presentations on five continents - throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Colombia, and Kenya.

Appearances at conferences and festivals include those of the Music Teachers National Association, American Liszt Society, College Music Society, North American Saxophone Alliance, World Saxophone Congress, Festival of Women Composers, American Suzuki Institute, World Piano Conference, National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, and InterHarmony International Music Festival. Thomas has given solo and collaborative concerts on more than sixty college and university campuses across the country, including the University of Wisconsin, Ohio State University, University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech University, University of Massachusetts, Arizona State University, University of Minnesota, and University of Texas. 

Martha Thomas served as faculty accompanist for the University of Georgia Chamber Choir in its 2011 Iberian tour, performing concerts at Toledo's Sinagoga del Tránsito, the Sevilla Conservatory, and Lisbon's Palacio Foz. Other international activities include lecture-recitals at the World Piano Conference in Serbia and the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in Toowoomba, solo and collaborative concerts at the Michael Joseph Center in Nairobi, Kenya, and a residency comprising teaching and performing with UGA colleague Milton Masciadri, double bassist, at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia.

Busy as a recording artist, Martha Thomas is now featured on ten compact disc recordings on the ACA Digital, Centaur, Albany, and PARMA labels. Just released within the past year are two new collaborative recordings: Arts Nostra: But Now the Night, featuring five 21st century compositions for two pianos with colleague Sang-Hie Lee from the University of South Florida; and American Art Songs and Their Poetry, with UGA colleague Stephanie Tingler, soprano. Her first solo CD, featuring selected solo piano music of American composer George Rochberg, garnered excellent reviews and a citation in the New York Times. Her second solo recording, Max Reger: The Forgotten Romantic, was released in 2013 and features music from five of Reger’s solo collections.

A native Texan, Martha Thomas holds degrees through the doctorate from the Universities of Texas (BM and DMA) and Wisconsin (MM). Her major piano professors were William Race, Danielle Martin, and Howard Karp, as well as additional studies at the Aspen Music Festival with Lee Luvisi. Thomas has participated in master classes and coached with many nationally renowned pianists including Jack Radunsky, Marylene Dosse, Leon Fleisher, John Perry, and Ronald Turini. Thomas studied piano pedagogy with Verna Harder, Jeanette Ross, and Amanda Vick Lethco and credits them with fostering her love of teaching. 

A member of UGA's Senior Teaching Fellows, Martha Thomas has also been inducted into UGA's Teaching Academy. A recipient of the 2012 Teacher of the Year Award from the Georgia Music Teachers Association, she was named an MTNA Foundation Fellow in 2015. Her students have enjoyed numerous successes through the years, including recent performances in Carnegie Hall and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, as well as prize-winners at national and international competitions.