Thomas Justin Bove (1974)
LIFE: Born in England of American parents, Thomas lived in France from the age of 6 and attended school in Geneva. After university studies in New York, Oxford, and further musical studies back in Geneva, Thomas lived in the South of France and then moved to London in 2001, where he worked as a pianist, rock musician, classical composer, school teacher, and finally piano teacher. Married with 3 three children, he moved to Montpellier in 2018, returning the following year to settle in Oxford. He currently works as a school teacher while continuing his work as a composer. In 2019 he published his first literary novel in French, ‘Le Crime du Bourgeois Wallenstein.’
From age 10 Thomas studied piano privately with Abe Jansen (classical and boogie) and subsequently Josettte Glassy (classical) from the conservatoire de Gland. In high-school he composed his first piano sonata. He went on to study Music, Literature and Philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College in New York (1993-1996), in the music department specialising in Piano with Bernard Rose and Composition with Chester Biscardi. He spent his Junior year with the SLC exchange programme at Wadham College, Oxford University, studying Composition with Hugh Rice Collins (Hertford College) in addition to Philosophy. After graduation he was admitted into the class of Jean Balissat, in Composition and Orchestration, at the Conservatoire of Music of Geneva, where he also studied Solfège and Harmony. While a conservatoire student, he was engaged as a tenor in the Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne under Michel Corboz.
In parallel to piano Thomas received his first drum kit at age 14, and studied for 3 years with Stephane Montinaro in Geneva (1989-1992). He played drums in a number of groups. He also taught himself the rudiments of guitar and singing, and in high school and later at College started writing songs. Leaving conservatoire after 3 years, he moved to Provence in 2000, and wrote and recorded his first album ‘Siglus’ in 2001. Later in London he teamed up with guitarist Kazu Kondo to form a group by the same name, Siglus. Supported by a roster of drummers and bassists, Siglus performed numerous concerts between 2002 and 2004 across London venues, and recorded an EP, a Single, and an Album, before disbanding. In 2006 Thomas recorded 3 more Siglus songs, performing all the parts himself. The studio songs from this period (2002-2006) are reissued as ‘Siglus Classics’. Thomas continued as a solo artist to produce ‘The Waters of Siloe’, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, and most recently ‘Galaxion’. He is currently working on the album ‘Atlantis’.
In classical, Thomas’ student pieces include: the quartet “La Prisonnière”; a setting of Arthur Rimbaud’s “Une Saison en Enfer” for soloists and orchestra; “Reflets de Sainte Hélène” on a text by Napoleon, for piano and heroic tenor; “Stanzas for Music” by Lord Byron, for piano (or quartet) and lyrical soprano; and “Fantômes, ou Méditations sur une Phantasmagorie” for 1 or 2 pianos. He next completed ‘Une Sonate D’Amour”, which he orchestrated for string symphony as “Petite Symphonie d’Amour”, premiered by the Melbourne Strings at a workshop in Correns, Var (2001). Having long been an Elvis fan, Thomas assembled his biographical research into an Elvis opera libretto, accompanied by substantial musical sketches. Though unfinished, some of these themes found their way into “Opus 1 for Piano”; one of them subsequently developing into “The Wallenstein Sonata”. Both these sonatas have been performed in Hampstead, as well as his next piece, a huge song for piano and tenor, “In The Great Dawn” based on a Rupert Brooke poem, performed with Christopher Diffey and later Caspar Singh; a movement for piano and Viola, “The Rainbow”, performed with Mariam Ruetschi; and a setting of Psalm 19, “The Perfect Revelation of the Lord”, for piano and treble voices, performed with the Junior Choir of St. John’s Parish Church in Hampstead, under David Moore. Thomas is currently working on “The Albion Piano Sonata”.
Obtaining a Post Graduate Certificate of Education in Secondary Music in 2005, Thomas worked as a school Teacher until 2008 before leaving to teach the piano privately. Between 2009 and 2018 Thomas developed his own piano class incorporating the Suzuki Piano Method with ABRSM Piano and Jazz Piano syllabuses. During these years Thomas organized many student recitals which were an important feature of his class.