The Thomas Lanese Collection

Thomas Lanese
Thomas Lanese (1915-2004) was a contemporary American composer who won acclaim and awards for his hauntingly beautiful compositions, filled with unexpected rhythms and harmonies.  He composed more than 100 pieces, including operas, vocal solos and duets, chamber ensembles and large choral works.  A professor of strings, theory and conducting for 24 years at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA, Lanese wrote extensively for the vocal and instrumental musical groups at the college.
A violist and graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College in Cleveland, Lanese also graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and received a master's degree from the Julliard School of Music.  During World War II, he toured with Irving Berlin's "This is the Army" orchestra.
Lanese and his wife, Denise Monteux Lanese, spent their summers in Surry, Maine, where he composed 3 operas for Walter Nowick and the Surry Opera.  Lanese was a staunch supporter of this Library, and in 2001 he generously donated his entire collection of musical compositions to our State of Maine Collection so that it would be widely available to musicians around the world.
Below you can listen to a performance of a chamber work by Lanese, download his complete catalog and read a biographical essay.

Download the entire Lanese Catalog

Full Biography of Thomas Lanese

Tom and Denise Lanese
Thomas Lanese was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1915 and received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1938 from Baldwin-Wallace College.  After graduation he received a graduate fellowship to study viola at the Julliard School of Music.  When the United States entered World War II, Tom's string quartet from Julliard enlisted in the Army as a unit to play in the Irving Berlin musical "This is the Army, Mr. Jones".  During his two year enlistment, he toured 300 cities around the world with the show.  In addition, Tom played in the movie that was made of the Berlin musical.

After the war, in 1946, Tom met Denise Monteux in New York, through her brother, the flutist Claude Monteux, who was a fellow musician and good friend.  Denise and Tom were married in 1947.   Following their marriage Tom played viola in the Pittsburgh Symphony under Fritz Reiner, the Kansas City Philharmonic under Efrem Kurtz, and became the Assistant Conductor of the Ft. Wayne Symphony.

In 1954 Tom accepted a position as Professor of Music at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania, where he taught strings, conducting, theory and composition. He also conducted the orchestra and the chorus.  Summers would find Tom and Denise in Maine, where they would visit Denise's father, the renowned orchestra conductor, Pierre Monteux.  In 1954 they bought a summer cottage in Surry, Maine and spent every summer there for the next 49 years.  While summering in Maine, Tom often assisted Maestro Monteux as a violist in the Domaine School orchestra.  In addition, he began composing works of his own in a little cabin next to the summer cottage.   When composing, Tom often consulted Maestro Monteux, particularly when doing the scoring for his "Mass" and "Viola Concerto".

Tom retired from teaching at Lebanon Valley College in 1978 to concentrate on composing.  During his career Tom wrote over 150 pieces for a wide variety of instruments and voices.  Locally, cellist George Sopkin performed Tom's "Cello Sonata" in concert.  Also, the Surry Opera Company performed his three of his operas: in 1986 they performed Tom's one-act chamber operas, "Sandusky Brown" and "The Ban", and in 1991 they premiered his two-act opera, "Evangeline".  

Tom was delighted when the Bagaduce Music Lending Library agreed to accept his entire collection of compositions, to be added to their State of Maine Collection.  Said Tom, "I think it's a unique and wonderful organization nurtured by a devoted group of generous people."   

Tom Lanese died at age 88 in 2004.  His wife, Denise, died at age 93 in 2007.