Tamara Brooks is a conductor who has had an international career spanning more than 40 years. She has recently returned from teaching and conducting in Spain and an appearance with the National Orchestra of Taiwan and the Symphony of Granada. The Boston Globe has said about her performances, “Everything was drawn out of the music and the situation it depicts and embodies; nothing was superimposed. And this made every moment of it profoundly original … an unusually searching, indeed sublime, spiritual experience.” The New York Times has described her work as “persuasive…charged with energy and a commanding central vision” and the Philadelphia Bulletin said” [This] performance of three major 20th century choral works with orchestra, under the vibrant leadership of Tamara Brooks, was a stunning, beautiful experience second to no other musical event of any kind in the city”
A graduate of Juilliard with degrees in piano and conducting, Brooks has conducted ensembles internationally. She has given concerts in Spain, Israel, Russia, Bosnia, Holland, Taiwan, Japan, Greece, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Germany, England, Wales, Greece and Italy and was principal guest conductor of the Istanbul Symphony in Turkey, conductor of the Cyprus Broadcast Orchestra and guest conductor of the Mozarteum Orchestra (Salzburg). She was also Music Director and Conductor of two bi-national music festivals on the island of Cyprus (bringing Greek and Turkish musicians together), where she held a Fulbright Professional Grant and designed the music curriculum for Cyprus’ first school of the arts. She returned to reorganize the State Orchestra, to conduct and teach master classes for conductors.
Brooks founded and was Music Director of Sequenza – a professional instrumental ensemble devoted to contemporary music in Philadelphia – and Music Director of Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia for 11 years – one of America’s oldest and most distinguished choruses. With Mendelssohn Club, she had an Academy of Music and Carnegie Hall series and made a Grammy nominated recording of choral music of Vincent Persichetti for New World Records which was called “ definitive” by both Fanfare and High Fidelity magazines. She has also recorded for Musical Heritage, Arabesque, Centaur, Neuma, Music & Arts and RCA.
A champion of new music, she has performed and commissioned contemporary compositions often with the composer in attendance. Composers with whom she has worked directly have included Takemitsu, Cage, Lutoslawski, Sessions, Druckman, Caltabiano, Tippett, Ligeti, Schuller, Persichetti, Kim, Sur, Adams, Golijov, Escot, Cogan, Liang and Navok.
Tamara Brooks has combined a professional conducting career with a love of teaching. As Professor and Conductor, she has been on the faculties of Mount Holyoke College, SUNY Albany, Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges, The New School of Music in Philadelphia (of which she was the President), University of Iowa, Hamilton College and New England Conservatory and has been a guest professor and conductor at Syracuse University, the Glinka Conservatory in Russia, Sarajevo Conservatory in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Osaka College of Music and Kyoto City University of Arts. She was also Director of the NYSSSA – a program for talented New York State High School Students.
A frequent guest conductor, guest lecturer and keynote speaker in the Arts at major universities and conservatories in the Us and abroad, she has given master classes also been their consultant regarding academic programs. She is a member of a quartet of musicians Serendipity 4 (Shura Lipovsky, Merima Ključo, Theodore Bikel and Tamara Brooks) who put their talents in the service of peace. She is music director and pianist for Theodore Bikel’s new play with music: Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears.