Conductor Thomas Cockrell was appointed artistic director of Opera in the Ozarks in October 2010. No stranger to Inspiration Point, Cockrell served as the Opera’s music director for the 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons.
I am honored and thrilled to return to Inspiration Point as artistic director. I am committed to building upon Opera in the Ozarks’ rich tradition while helping to lead it forward in an exciting period of promise. I look forward to working closely with the general director, the board and the staff to grow our program, nurturing excellence at every performance and in every artist.
Cockrell’s opera credits include Il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Die Zauberflöte, Pagliacci and Gianni Schicchi for Opera Theatre of the Rockies; La Bohème and Don Giovanni for Dayton Opera; La Cenerentola, Albert Herring, Il Tabarro, Lucia di Lammermoor and Il Barbiere di Siviglia for the Opera Colorado Artist Center; and Les Contes d’Hoffmann for Washington, DC’s Summer Opera Theatre. For the Spoleto Festivals in Italy and South Carolina, he has conducted symphonic, chamber and contemporary music concerts while serving as assistant to the music director for productions of Parsifal, Elektra and Salome. Cockrell made his professional debut as a Featured Young Artist conducting the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. Following that success Gian Carlo Menotti invited him to conduct his Maria Golovin at Spoleto Festival USA.
Cockrell has served as a conductor of Cincinnati Opera, Opera Colorado, The Colorado Symphony and the Spoleto Festivals. Equally committed to the symphonic repertoire, he has conducted the professional symphony orchestras of Dallas, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Tucson, Louisville and Boulder, as well as several orchestras in Italy, Romania, Mexico, and South Korea.
A dedicated and gifted educator, Cockrell is in demand as a teacher of emerging conductors, recently leading master classes in Europe, Asia and Central America, as well as in the US. He served as music director of Denver Young Artists Orchestra and the conducting faculty of the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Since 2000 Cockrell has served as director of orchestral activities at the University of Arizona School of Music in Tucson, where he is professor of music, holds the Nelson Riddle Endowed Chair and is the director of the Rogers Institute of Orchestra and Opera Conducting. As music director of the University of Arizona Opera Theater he has conducted recent productions of The Rape of Lucretia, The Crucible and Postcard from Morocco, as well as works from the traditional repertoire.
Cockrell is a graduate of Yale University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he received his doctorate. He is one of the last students of the legendary Franco Ferrara with whom he studied in Rome while serving as a founding director of La Camerata Operistica Romana. Cockrell holds a conducting diploma from L’Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and pursued further studies at Aspen and Tanglewood.