About Me

Hello, I’m Thomas Proctor, music composer and singer.  I am drawn to music as a way to explore who I am, and how we all relate to each other.  Since prehistoric times, we have been searching for what it means to be human.  From the village shaman to the modern artist, we look for windows into the depths of our being to search for inner purpose, as well as our place in the external world.  Music opens this portal into our soul.  With one degree in biology, and one in music, I realized that science and art are both trying to do the same thing: define and communicate the human experience.  In each of my compositions I am making a frame for that window, to illuminate for a moment, and shine some light into the mundane.

My path to music composition was unconventional. I started out at age 15 playing electric guitar, eventually singing in a rock band.  The more I learned, the more I wanted to know, and I earned a Bachelor of Music in music composition from Portland State University.  I sing baritone with the Oregon Repertory Singers, where I enjoy learning and making music with other people, peering together through the window.

Being a singer myself, I am particularly drawn to composing choral music.  But even in my instrumental compositions, you will find that my style is very sweeping and lyrical.  I love using the contrasts between tender and intense, creating an emotional ride for the listener, as well as performer.  I often start a composition in the framework of tonal music, and then happily break the rules wherever I can.  I strive for balance between expectation and surprise.

My TBB song, “The Quiet Land of Érin”, is a reinvention of the traditional Irish song, informed by my research into the original 19th century poem.  Another choral piece I am fond of is called, “Where Your Treasure Is”, based on the words of Jesus from the book of Luke, which delivers the sense of urgency of what is really important in this life, along with the beauty and elegance of how it’s illustrated with ravens and lilies.  My chamber trio in 3 movements for clarinet, viola, and piano, “Mourning Dove Suite”, was inspired by the sound of dozens of mourning doves who were surrounding me when I awoke at dawn while camping in the Oregon desert.

I find inspiration to write music when I see that there is a story to tell.  If I am excited about a documentary, or a poem, or sitting on the beach on a gloomy day, I want to share the love, grief, joy, or misery of the experiences I have.  I want to see how my window into the world looks through the eyes of others, or maybe changes the way others see the world; and see how my frame of reference is changed by the act of creating and sharing.

 Besides music, I enjoy backpacking and mountain climbing, sewing my own apparel, and working in a pathology lab.