Dr. Thomas Joiner has appeared as a conductor, violinist, chamber player, and teacher throughout the United States and eleven foreign countries. As Professor of Violin and Orchestral Activities at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, he conducts the Furman Symphony Orchestra in orchestral, operatic, and oratorio performances each year. As Music Director and Conductor of the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra (NC) since 1998 Joiner’s creative programming has led to continued growth for the orchestra, community support and sold-out performances. In addition to the Masterworks Series the HSO partners with area public schools presenting curriculum-based youth concerts to thousands of 3rd and 6th grade Henderson county children each year.
A sought after guest conductor, Joiner led the Orquestra da Camera Theatre Sao Pedro during two residencies in Porto Alegre, Brazil, conducted the Greenville (SC) Symphony Chamber Orchestra, the Asheville (NC) Lyric Opera in three sold-out performances of South Pacific, and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the 2015 Masterworks Music Festival. A devoted educator, Joiner has served as conductor and clinician for All-State Orchestras in addition to presenting sessions at regional and national music education conferences from Alabama to Ohio. As a Director of the Furman Band and Orchestra Camp he conducts the high school orchestra each summer.
As an orchestral violinist Joiner has shared the stage with conductors Robert Shaw, Jorge Mester, John Nelson, and Keith Lockhart as well as soloists Renee Fleming, Frederica von Stade, David Daniels, Peter Serkin, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham and Joshua Bell. As an Artistic Ambassador for the United States Information Agency, he presented seventeen violin recitals with pianist Douglas Weeks during a five-week tour of western Africa and the Middle East. During a sabbatical Joiner studied in Paris with eminent maestro John Nelson. He has twice served as a visiting professor at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy.
For many years Joiner held the Dr. & Mrs. William J. Pendergrast, Sr. Artist Chair at Brevard Music Center where he served on the conducting staff and as a concertmaster of the Brevard Music Festival Orchestra. He was honored in 2009, along with his wife, violist Anna Barbrey Joiner, with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Previous positions also include Professor of Violin and Orchestral Activities at the University of Georgia School of Music, Associate Principal Second Violin of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, first violinist with the Louisville Orchestra, South Carolina president of the American String Teachers Association, and member of the national board of directors of the Conductors Guild.
Joiner earned the Doctor of Music in Violin Performance from Florida State University as a student of Gerardo Ribeiro, the Masters of Church Music in Musicology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Furman University. He is a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina where he was drum major of the Rock Hill High School Bearcat Band!
Greenville Symphony Orchestra violinist Thomas Joiner traded his bow for a baton to conduct confident, idiomatic performances of three works that are diverse in orchestration, substance, and appeal.
In terms of balance and excitement, the GSCO’s best playing came last with Mozart’s Symphony No. 35. Joiner chose a slightly romantic reading, rounding off each phrase gracefully. The work was energized by sprightly tempos and a mood of celebration.
Conductor and violinist Thomas Joiner opened the program with The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi. Joiner’s commanding performance was exciting, giving us a view of how virtuosos performed while conducting their orchestras in the late 18th century, while playing with flare and accuracy… Joiner as performer and conductor is something I hope we will enjoy again.
Joiner coaxed the violins in particular to play fully throughout the phrases, demanding exactness and getting it most of the time. Joiner’s ability to balance the brass section dynamically with the strings was both admirable and tastefully done. Control and contrast, two elements so necessary–but not the usual–were evident, making listening a very enjoyable experience.
The accompaniment that the orchestra provided was so subtle that one almost forgot they were playing. Unobtrusiveness coupled with maestro Joiner’s intimate knowledge of the concerto [Tchaikovsky- Violin Concerto] provided the chemistry needed between soloist and ensemble. Tchaikovsky’s music lived and breathed in the hall Saturday night.
The orchestra played with grace and elegance and a little humor, too. This orchestra [Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra] continues to play best those pieces it loves most. I think we are all looking forward to the next seasons as the orchestra matures under maestro Joiner’s coaxing and leadership.
Maestro Joiner is a doer, a motivator and a builder, constructing on a past foundation and creating much more than has ever been dreamed about before. The entire program exemplified a real maturing on the part of the orchestra–something close to a miracle in a first season with a new conductor. Major housekeeping was apparent, as dust bunnies of past intonational indiscretions and blatant disregard for what the conductor may be trying to express were not swept under the rug, but rather, booted out of the house!
The orchestra had lots of fun and, as I’ve said before, they play well what they like– however, it’s getting more difficult to say that since they are playing with so much more depth, nuance and range of dynamics. They are a pleasure to hear and we are grateful for the treasure, which we can call our own.
Joiner’s command of the orchestra with all of its intricacies, the give and take, was deft and strong… Joiner’s knack for extracting good things from his players was a clear reality. The players performed very well and they seemed to have a great time making wonderful music.
Music Director and Conductor Thomas Joiner’s facility for assembling a varied collection of both musical and non-musical entities delights the audience… The attention to detail and quality of respect shown by the musicians to their leadership is testimony to the musical advance made by this ensemble in the last year and half.
The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra is enjoying its 32nd season of music making and arts activities in the mountain region. For a community orchestra, it has remarkable depth, ambitious programs and a fine conductor in Thomas Joiner. He conducts with a vigorous, engaged and compelling style. His vision is clear, his mission straightforward, and his assertive pursuit of these objectives leaves the impression everything is being created at the moment. He draws performances from orchestra members one would expect from a much larger organization and better paid to boot.
Hendersonville puts on stage perhaps the finest orchestra of any city of its size in America. The audience should hear a better result than it does, but will not until Hendersonville gets a performance hall that matches the orchestra in quality.
I was warned to come early to the Hendersonville Symphony’s concert, as there is general seating in Blue Ridge Community College’s Conference Hall and people tend to show up early. Sure enough, thirty minutes before the concert the house was nearly full.
In an age where orchestras are struggling to stay alive, it’s clear from the large turnout that the Hendersonville Symphony is a much beloved regional orchestra. The problem looming in their future – that they may have outgrown their hall – is a good one to have.
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