Meet The Music Director

IMG_9801Thomas Heuser, Music Director

Recognized for his stirring leadership and energetic programs, conductor Thomas Heuser has devoted himself to artistic excellence, music education, and community collaboration as a music director and public servant in the arts. In 2016, he became the Music Director of the San Juan Symphony, and relocated to Durango, Colorado, with his wife, violinist Lauren Avery, and their son Theodore.

Since 2011, he has served as the Music Director of the Idaho Falls Symphony, during which time he has attracted new audiences, reinvigorated the community, and helped the IFS gain a more firm financial footing than at any time in their 68-year history. Thomas was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for Orchestral Conducting in Germany while serving as the 2010 Conducting Fellow with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. His Fulbright residency at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München included orchestral performances in Munich and Berlin and his European operatic debut with Jeunesses Musicales Deutschland in the medieval town of Weikersheim.

Moving from Munich to San Francisco, Thomas enjoyed three seasons as the Principal Guest Conductor of the San Francisco Academy Orchestra. Other recent guest conducting appearances include the Missoula Symphony Orchestra for Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms; the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra and the Vallejo Symphony Orchestra as a music director finalist; and as a last-minute replacement with the Idaho State Civic Symphony. Thomas has worked with such diverse groups as the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Stephen Foster Youth Orchestra, and the Northern Arizona University Orchestra, and with orchestras in Canada, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Estonia.

The son of two molecular biologists at Washington University in St. Louis, Thomas began violin lessons at an early age and studied piano at the St. Louis Symphony Music School. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College and earned his Masters in Instrumental Conducting (MM) from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. In 2013 he completed his Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting (DMA) from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. He trained as a pianist with Columbian pedagogue Blanca Uribe, studied voice with countertenor Drew Minter, and gained extensive choral singing experience with the acclaimed Pro Arte Singers at Indiana University under John Poole. His primary conducting teachers include Bruno Weil, Mark Gibson, David Effron, Thomas Baldner, Paavo Järvi, Larry Rachleff, Gustav Meier, Marin Alsop, and David Robertson.