Thomas Little (born July 12, 1996) was identified as a musical prodigy at the age of six by Dr. George Kiorpes and studied piano with him for twelve years.
Since beginning formal compositional studies in 2012, Thomas has written a number of significant orchestral, chamber, solo, and electronic pieces. In 2013, he wrote the electronic Christmas Dance, which has been used every subsequent year as the background music for the Dancing Christmas Tree at the Tanglewood Festival of Lights, which is attended annually by a quarter of a million people. He was commissioned in 2015 to write a humorous musical-theatre chamber piece by the renowned Low & Lower cello-bass duo of Brooks Whitehouse and Paul Sharpe. The resulting piece, Overdrive, has been played around the United States, and has garnered acclaim for being “a merry romp” and “too clever for its own good.” In 2017, Thomas was commissioned by Wachovia Winds to write the Moravian-inspired piece Awakening.
He possesses an idiomatic approach to keyboard composition and a desire to explore new sounds from solo instruments to the symphony orchestra to the wind ensemble, all encompassed in an eclectic musical language that incorporates elements from the late Romantic to the present day. He has been described as possessing an “evocative, refined ear” for orchestral color, particularly in his Symphony №. 1 “The Grand Tetons.” The first movement of the symphony, “Teton Pass,” took first prize in the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra's 2018 composition competition and was performed by the orchestra. Thomas is fascinated by music's unique ability to directly convey the emotions of lived experiences to listeners, and has been drawn to personal and historical subject matter to paint vivid pictures in the minds of listeners. In the realm of vocal music, he is particularly fascinated with the poetry of Robert Service, the “Bard of the Yukon,” for its vivid imagery. He is currently in his third year of undergraduate study with Dr. Michael Rothkopf at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.
Thomas performs as pianist and organist at St. Michael Lutheran Church in High Point. He has studied idiomatic cello writing with Dr. Grace Anderson, is a self-taught harmonicist and mandolinist, can imitate a kazoo with his mouth, and is a gangsa and reyong player in Wake Forest University's Gamelan Giri Murti under Dr. Elizabeth Clendinning. He is fascinated by music history and maintains an extensive music-related library, which includes a large number of composer biographies. He enjoys month-long road trips and has been to 49 states, nine provinces, and the Yukon Territory by motor vehicle.
Online, Thomas is the host of the YouTube channel “Classical Nerd,” which features weekly educational videos about music history, theoretical concepts, and techniques, and is used across the United States as a supplementary resource for music educators.