Thomas Neenan is Lecturer in Music at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena where he teaches music history and theory, music appreciation, the history of jazz and a variety of special topics. He is the recipient of an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Associated Students of Caltech and a Brass Award from the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences for excellence in teaching.
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.
As an organist, he has performed in the United States, Germany, France, Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland including solo performances on historic instruments in Naumburg, Germany (Wenzelskirche), Haarlem, Netherlands (Grote Kerk), Hamburg, Germany (Jakobikirche), and on modern instruments at Stanford University Chapel, Old West Church (Boston), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), and UCLA.
As a conductor, he has led a variety of instrumental and choral ensembles throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. Conducting activities have included the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra and Choir with baritone Thomas Quasthoff in excerpts from Haydn’s “Creation,” the UCLA Men’s Glee Club in concerts throughout Japan and California, and the Choir and Soloists of St. Matthew’s Parish in tours through central Europe and the British Isles as well as residencies at Winchester and Durham Cathedrals (UK).
Neenan has contributed scholarly essays 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 at the monastic community of Taizé, France.
In 2017 he retired after 36 years as Music Director at The Parish of St. Matthew (Episcopal), Pacific Palisades, and Music Director and Conductor of The Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s. At St. Matthew’s he commissioned and premiered more than three dozen works by composers including David Newman, Thomas Pasatieri, Paul Chihara, Roger Bourland, Tarik O’Regan and many young local talents. He currently serves as President of the St. Matthew’s Music Guild which presents a concert series by the chamber orchestra, guest artists and ensembles, and offers multi-faceted music outreach activities in area schools, homeless service centers, and retirement communities (MusicGuildOnline.org).
He is active as a substitute and interim organist and choir director and enjoys golf, cooking and travel.