Thomas Whitman '82
Associate Professor of Music
Professor Whitman is the founder and co-director of Gamelan Semara Santi, Swarthmore's classical and contemporary Indonesian percussion orchestra. He teaches courses in Balinese Gamelan performance, music of Asia, harmony and counterpoint, Beethoven, Mahler, Britten, music education, and other areas.
An accomplished composer, Whitman studied with Gerald Levinson, Thomas Oboe Lee, and Joan Panetti at Swarthmore, and George Crumb, Jay Reise, and Richard Wernick at the University of Pennsylvania. He has received commissions from New York's North/South Consonance, Philadelphia's Orchestra 2001, Boston's ALEA III, Network for New Music, and The Philadelphia Singers, among others.
He has worked collaboratively with many artists, including choreographers Kim Arrow, Sharon Friedler, and Sally Hess; with the filmmaker Eugene Martin; and with the poet Nathalie Anderson, with whom he has written two operas and a work for chorus and orchestra. He and Ms. Anderson are currently at work on their third opera, A Scandal in Bohemia, based on the Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle. It is tentatively slated for production by Orchestra 2001 in 2008-09.
Whitman also runs the Chester Children's Gamelan Project, introducing traditional Indonesian performing arts traditions to schoolchildren in Chester, Pa.
As a Luce Scholar, Whitman studied traditional music in Bali, Indonesia, in 1986-87. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.