THOMAS NEENAN is Lecturer in Music History and Music Theory at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Director of Music at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades. He is also Music Director and Conductor of the critically acclaimed Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s – a fully professional chamber orchestra that has been in residence at St. Matthew’s since 1984. With the orchestra he has been a leader in the Los Angeles area in commissioning and premiering new music by local and national composers, including Tarik O’Regan, Bruce Broughton, Roger Bourland, Dwayne S. Milburn, Ross Wright, and David Newman. St. Matthew’s Music Guild (MusicGuildOnline.org) is currently in the midst of a 2-year project, funded in part by a grant from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, to commission two new crossover works (Asian and African) to be premiered by the Chamber Orchestra.
Neenan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organ Performance from Cal State Northridge and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Organ Performance Practices and Conducting from UCLA, where he was named an Outstanding Graduate Student. He studied organ with David Britton and Thomas Harmon in the U.S. and Ernst-Ulrich von Kameke and Jean Langlais in Europe.
Neenan teaches a full range of music theory and music history courses at Caltech and in 2001 he was honored with an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Associated Students at Caltech.
As a recital organist, he has performed in the United States, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Japan, and Switzerland. In 2004 he performed as solo organist on the 1746 Hilldebrandt “Bach Organ” in Naumburg, Germany.
As a conductor, he has led a variety of instrumental and choral ensembles throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. He was a conducting fellow under Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival, where he conducted baritone Thomas Quasthoff and the Festival Chorus in portions of Haydn’s Creation, and he has led performances by the Choir of St. Matthew’s Parish in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany, and throughout the British Isles.
Neenan has contributed scholarly essays and articles to a variety of professional journals on topics ranging from Gregorian chant to the organ music of György Ligeti. He has received research grants to study and write on performance practices in the organ music of Dietrich Buxtehude, music and culture in the Dutch communities of colonial New York, and music in the monastic community of Taizé, France.