Thomas Purcell

Soloist Spotlight: Thomas Purcell

New York City-based violinist Thomas Purcell has enjoyed a versatile career as a performer and educator. He has performed in many prestigious concert halls around the United States and Europe. Dedicated to growth and development of contemporary music, Thomas has commissioned and premiered numerous solo violin and chamber music works. As a freelance violinist, he has performed in many shows and orchestras in the greater NYC area.

The Chelsea Symphony: What makes playing with TCS different from other playing experiences you have had?

Thomas Purcell: The most memorable concerts I play usually come down to the people I am playing with. The musicians in TCS are some of the most dedicated, warm, welcoming, and talented musicians I've had the privilege to perform with. Also, the diverse selection of repertoire the orchestra programs each season is unlike anything I've played before. TCS is the orchestra to go hear if you are looking for the classics, under-represented pieces from the past, and fantastic music being written today! 

TCS: What keeps you coming back to TCS?

TP: All of my colleagues in the orchestra are truly inspiring. There is a passion, warmness, and drive during rehearsals that can be felt from each musician and conductor. It is the perfect setting to make music.

TCS: What made you choose this particular solo work to play with TCS? 

TP: I'm extremely passionate about music being written today. I remember first hearing the piece when Kristen Lee premiered it back in 2011 and it grabbed me right from the beginning. There are pieces of music that just stick with you, and Vivian Fung's music does that for me. Her explorations of sound, color, and orchestration are remarkable. 

TCS: What feelings come up for you when you are playing this piece?

TP: Vivian's Violin Concerto No. 1 is a journey of emotions and sound. The Concerto ends very similarly as it begins. Though, by the time we arrive at the end, I feel like I am experiencing the same music through a completely changed perspective. Almost like a lunar eclipse. When I come back to the other side, I've traveled somewhere special... and there is nothing left to do but reflect. 

TCS: Is there anything else you would like to share about your upcoming solo feature?

TP: Just like all of the classic violin concertos we all know and love, we need musicians to advocate and champion the works of today. Music is a timestamp of what is going on in the world during that particular time period. I can't think of a better vernacular entrypoint into the world of classical music than through the music by living composers. To me, classical music is not the music of the past, but the music of all times.