Thomas Giles compels listeners to re-think an instrument they thought they knew. Said to have “...the ideal sound of Adolphe Sax” (Südkurier), Giles performs with a historic saxophone built to the inventor’s nineteenth-century specifications. Possessing “all the colors of the orchestra” (Heidelberg Zeitung) and “...agility like a singer in the high register” (Badische Zeitung), he has gained notoriety as a specialist in daredevil repertoire, often the first to present revival performances of works long regarded as unplayable. In a tour-de-force debut at Carnegie Hall, Giles was called a “splendid performer with…wonderful life and spirit” by Pulitzer Prize Winner Charles Wuorinen, and “at once sensitive, nuanced, brash, and daring; all depending on the demands of the music,” by composer David Ludwig of the Curtis Institute. He has been acclaimed in DownBeat Magazine, broadcasted nation-wide on NPR’s Performance Today, and heard in concert halls across the United States and Europe.
First appearing as a concerto soloist with the Pikes Peak Philharmonic at the age of 16, Giles has since appeared with New World Symphony, Lubbock Symphony, National Music Festival Orchestra, Florida State Chamber Orchestra, Illinois State Symphony, and the Symphony Orchestra of Southern Mississippi. Recital highlights include appearances in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall (NY), Nußloch Kulturzentrum (Germany), Münster Musikhochschule (Germany), Musik am Sonnenrain (Germany), Bartholomeus Gashuis (Netherlands), Cité de la Musique (France), Ogólnoksztalcąca Muzyczna (Poland), Akadamie Sztuki w Szczecinie (Poland), SpectrumNYC (NY), Ethos New Music Festival (NY), FeNAM/Festival of New American Music (CA), Trinity Chamber Concerts of Berkley (CA), El Dorado Chamber Concerts (CA), SoundWired Chicago (IL), PianoForte Chicago (IL), Jacksonville’s Friday Musicale (FL), Music in the Mountains (CO), Community Concerts at Second of Baltimore (MD), Roche Family Visiting Artist Series (PA), Fairmont Chamber Music Society (WV), and many others. As guest artist, he has taught masterclasses at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and the universities of Arkansas, West Virginia, SUNY Fredonia, Sacramento State, Oklahoma State, and many others.
Giles holds prizes from over 20 competitions, more than a dozen of which are 1st prizes. In addition to seven 1st prizes at concerto competitions across the United States, he was awarded the International Midland-Odessa Woodwind Competition’s 1st Prize by unanimous jury, two consecutive 2nd Prizes by the Music Teachers National Association’s Southern Conference, and 2nd Prize at the St. Louis Concert Artist Competition; he was a finalist at the International Coeur D’Alene Competition and semi-finalist at the Hülsta International Woodwind Competition in Germany. Consecutively in 2007 and 2008, Giles was twice selected as DownBeat Magazine’s Classical Student Soloist of the Year—an honor rarely won by non-orchestral instruments.
In 2012, Giles was invited to join the nationally-acclaimed Mana Quartet. Founded in 2007, Mana regularly tours the United States and has also appeared in Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The group was the first saxophone quartet in history to be awarded the coveted Grand Prize of the Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition. In addition to glowing reviews and National Public Radio broadcasts, magazines such as the Los Angeles Chronicle, Saxophone Journal, and Chamber Music Magazine have printed feature articles on the ensemble. Alongside performing in the group, Giles actively pursues composers to write for Mana, and has premiered works dedicated to the ensemble by Stephen Dankner, Kevin Villalta, Clare Shore, Mika Pelo, Everette Minchew, Anthony J. Stillabower, Dan Knorr, and Michael Broder.
Thomas Giles is a D’Addario Performing Artist and exclusively uses Reserve Classic Reeds. He has taught saxophone and chamber music at Illinois State University and the Florida State University’s College of Music, where he received the Doctor of Music degree. His principal mentors have been Carina Raschèr, Patrick Meighan, Lawrence Gwozdz, and Timothy McAllister.