Born: February 26, 1943 - Orpington, Kent, England
The English bass, David Thomas (Lionel Mercer), began singing as a boy chorister in the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Later he was educated in King's School, Canterbury, and as a teenager won a choral scholarship to King's College, Cambridge.
David Thomas first gained recognition as a soloist with Rooley's Consort of Musicke, Christopher Hogwood's Academy of Ancient Music, and other early music groups in England. Subsequently he appeared throughout Europe. In 1982 he made his USA debut at the Hollywood Bowl. In later years, he pursued an international career.
David Thomas won particular distinction for his performances of works by Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach, Handel, and Mozart. His repertoire ranges from the Baroque and Classical, in which he has largely specialised, to Walton, Tippet, Britten, Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Schnittke. His career has taken him to Europe, USA and Japan and he has appeared at many prestigious festivals including Tanglewood, Salzburg, Edingburgh, Luzerne, Stuttgart, Aldeburgh and the BBC Promenade concerts.
David Thomas has appeared with many of the major symphony orchestras and ensembles in the UK, including the City of Birmingham Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the Halle, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the London classical Players, the Scottish Chamber, the Manchester Camerata, the Northern Sinfonia, the Taverner Consort, the Academy of Ancient Music and London Baroque, and he has worked regularly with conductors such as Simon Rattle, John Eliot Gardiner, Nicholas McGegan and Christopher Hogwood. Notable engagements in the UK include a television recording of Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington, Handel's Orlando at the Proms conducted by Christopher Hogwood and Die Schopfung with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Frans Bruggen. He gives regular concerts with soprano Emma Kirkby and lutenist Anthony Rooley. He sang Sarasto in the Covent Garden Festival's production of Die Zauberflote and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni and General Spork in Cornet Cristoph Rilke's Song of Love and Death for Glyndebourne Touring Opera.
David Thomas appears frequently in Europe, especially with the Academy of Ancient Music. Other engagements have included Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) performances in Leipzig and Berlin, a series of Messiahs in Italy and concerts with the Orchestre de la Swiss Romande, the Fundacao de Sao Carlos in Lisbon, the Wiener Akademie, with the Kammerchor Stuttgart in concerts in Gottingen, and Handel's Serse and Resurrezione in Brighton and Gottingen.
Performances last season included concerts in Switzerland, France and Germany with the Academy of Ancient Music, concerts in Sweden and Boston (USA). His engagements in the USA have included Messiah with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the Hollywood Bowl, The Creation with Boston Symphony Orchestra and Simon Rattle, Messiah at the Lincoln Center with the Academy of Ancient Music, Schubert's Winterreise at Cornell at University and Handel's Judas Maccabaeus, Susanna and Theodora with the Philharmonia Baroque and Nicholas McGegan.
David Thomas's many recordings include Handel's Serse (Hanover Band/Nicholas McGegan), Handel's Susanna, Apollo and Daphne and Judas Maccabeus (Philharmonia Baroque/Nicholas McGegan), Handel's Semele, Purcell's Fairy Queen and Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243) (Monteverdi Choir/English Baroque Soloists/ John Eliot Gardiner), Handel's Acis, Galatea e Polifemo (London Baroque/ Charles Medlam), Handel's Messiah and Israel in Egypt, Bach's B Minor Mass (BWV 232) and St. John Passion (BWV 245) (Taverner Consort & Players/Andrew Parrot), Coffee Cantata (BWV 211) with Emma Kirkby, Mozart's Requiem (Hannover Band/ Roy Goodman), Stravinsky's Pulcinella (City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox) and Die Schopfung (City of Birmingham Orchestra/ Simon Rattle). 'Gramophone' said of his solo disc of Handel Arias with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, "Thomas has a formidable range, a dazzling technique and a tone that is full and dark, yet always clearly defined."