Thomas McConochie (b.1985) grew up in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. His early composition studies were with Estelle Huxley, his high school music teacher. Thomas also received advice on composition from Jim Cotter, lecturer in composition at the Australian National University.
Thomas studied towards a Bachelor of Music at the Australian National University from 2003-2004. He graduated from ANU with a Bachelor of Asian Studies (Chinese) in 2006. Thomas completed an MA in Asian Studies (Chinese) at ANU in 2012. In 2013, he commenced a PhD in Chinese philosophy at the University of New South Wales.
Thomas has studied French horn performance in two countries: Australia and Taiwan. Some of his horn teachers include: Graham Nichols (freelance hornist); Ben Jacks (principal horn, Sydney Symphony Orchestra); Chen Yanhao (陈彦豪), (principal horn, Taipei City Symphony Orchestra); and Dominic Harvey (lecturer in horn, ANU School of music)
Thomas has performed in professional and community ensembles in Australia and Taiwan. These include: the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra; the University of New South Wales Orchestra; the National Taiwan University Symphony Orchestra; the Taiwan 100 Horn Ensemble; the ANU School of Music Orchestra; and the 1RAR Army Band. Thomas has also performed as a horn soloist. In 2015, he performed Joseph Haydn’s Horn Concerto no. 2 in the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition.
Thomas has received a number of prizes for his compositions. Below is a brief list:
Fugue for Stan (for solo organ)
2nd place in the Australian Society for Musical Education’s (ASME) Young Composer Awards, 2000
Tranquillity (for orchestra featuring alto flute and contrabassoon),
2nd place in the ASME Young Composer Awards, 2002.
Uluru (for choir and orchestra)
received a prize from the Australian National University Choral Society’s composition competition, 2006.
Hijazi Rhapsody (for orchestra),
received a prize from the Daegu Contemporary Music Orchestra’s International Contemporary Music Festival, 2010
In recent years, Thomas has turned his attention to composing music to assist and encourage children learning the horn. Thus, he has composed a number of sonatinas for young horn players. These compositions draw from Thomas’ familiarity with horn performance to provide horn students with technically suitable music that is also engaging and fun to play.