Thomas Beveridge was born in New York City. He began piano studies at the age of six, and during his teen years he mastered the oboe. He also began composing at the age of eleven, and by the time he entered Harvard as an undergraduate, in 1955, he had already written some seventy-five pieces. He studied composition with Randall Thompson and Walter Piston, choral conducting with G. Wallace Woodworth, and voice at the Longy School of Music with Olga Averino and Mascia Predit. While at Harvard he met Nadia Boulanger, the celebrated composition teacher and mentor to many of the 20th century’s most accomplished composers, who invited him to join her composition and conducting class in Paris.
Although he went on to enjoy a multifaceted musical career as an oboist, keyboard player, arranger, teacher, and conductor, in addition to his pursuit of composition throughout much of his life Beveridge has been most active as an oratorio and recital singer. His engagements have brought him to music festivals in England and Europe and to concert stages throughout the United States. In Washington, D.C., he presented three programs of his own songs at the National Gallery of Art. He is also a retired master sergeant in the United States Army, and he sang for twenty years in the U.S. Army Chorus—including a number of solo roles.
Beveridge has become increasingly visible as a choral conductor in the Washington area. He is the artistic director and conductor of the New Dominion Chorale, a 175-voice ensemble that he formed in 1991, and he has served as director of choral activities at George Mason University and as chorusmaster of the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, where he has also appeared as guest conductor of the Washington Chamber Symphony and the Messiah Sing-Along. He is the founder and director of the National Men’s Chorus, a fifty-voice ensemble devoted to the adult male voice choral tradition. Formerly, he conducted the Washington Men’s Camerata.
Beveridge has received commissions from Harvard University, the Harvard Divinity School, Union Theological Seminary, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation at the Library of Congress. Among his large-scale works in addition to Yizkor Requiem are Once: In Memoriam Martin Luther King, Jr., which has been recorded by the Choral Arts Society; and Symphony of Peace, a cantata for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra. He has written nearly 500 choral arrangements, about 100 of which are for male voice chorus; and he has arranged a number of settings of Hanukka songs.
By: Neil W. Levin