Dark Sisters is a story of resilience, survival, and ultimately of hope, as seen through the eyes of one extraordinary woman. Living within the confines of a polygamist, patriarchal cult, the opera follows the journey of Eliza, a sister-wife who questions what she has been taught and emerges as a singular voice, one who is no longer content to be one of many.This haunting work by one of America's most popular and prolific composers, Nico Muhly, charts one woman’s quest for self-discovery in a world where personal identity is forbidden.
Dark Sisters: Conductor (The Pathways Program)
Powerfully compelling, Deanna Tham is known for her captivating and tenacious spirit on and off the podium. She is currently Associate Conductor of the Oregon Symphony and Music Director of the Union Symphony Orchestra.
Previously, Tham was the Assistant Conductor of the Omaha Symphony, following her tenure as Assistant Conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony and Principal Conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras. She has performed at the Proms in Royal Albert Hall, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, and Seiji Ozawa Hall at the Tanglewood Music Center working with Maestros James Ross, Joseph Young, and Sir Antonio Pappano, as well as renowned artists Isobel Leonard and Joyce DiDonato. Highlights of the 2019-2020 season included leading the Jacksonville Symphony’s first educational Martin Luther King Jr. tribute concert and the Union Symphony’s first city-community Pops on the Plaza collaboration of Latin American pop and classical music. Additional recent engagements include Assistant Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra (NYO-USA and NYO2) and Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Sinfonietta with Maestro Mei-Ann Chen. Tham has also regularly guest conducted with the Boise Philharmonic and Ballet Idaho, is a cover conductor for the San Francisco Symphony, and has worked with world-renown soloists in a variety of genres including Melissa White, Capathia Jenkins, and Cherish the Ladies. Her past positions include those with the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Louisville Youth Orchestras, and American Chamber Opera.
Tham is also equally at home with a variety of musical genres. These projects include full-feature blockbuster movie scores, collaborations with Cirque Musica, Broadway artists, pop cover groups like Jeans ’n Classics, and independent artists like Silent Film Score connoisseur and composer, Ben Model.
Tham is a staunch advocate of music education from school education engagement and youth orchestral performing opportunities to lifelong learning. In 2018, Tham and the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras made their debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. Previously, she has worked with the Louisville Youth Orchestras and the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Tham has also created and presented educational concert series in a variety of formats. She has written original school-curriculum-based programs for numerous symphony orchestras and collaborated with organizations including Really Inventive Stuff, the Louisville Ballet Academy, and the International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute.
Tham is a second-place winner in the Youth Orchestra Conductor division of the American Prize. She was invited as a scholarship participant to the 2015 Conductors Guild Conductor/Composer Training Workshop at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music working with renowned conductors Marin Alsop and James Ross. Additionally, she was the recipient of the 2015 Wintergreen Summer Music Academy Conductor’s Guild Scholarship where she worked with Master Teacher Victor Yampolsky. In 2013, Tham’s work with the National Music Festival was featured on National Public Radio as well as American Public Media. She has also made appearances at the Cadaques Orchestra International Conducting Competition.
Tham has been the Music Director of the American Chamber Orchestra. Her work with the company includes a groundbreaking semi-staged version of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, staged in English for the South Chicago community. During her time with the company, she worked with many talented musicians, including those who sing with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She made great strides making the company a strong presence in the Chicago area and has sold recordings of her work with the company on iTunes.
Tham holds a Professional Studies Certificate from the Cleveland Institute of Music in Orchestral Conducting studying with Maestro Carl Topilow. She received her Master of Music in conducting with conducting program honors from Northwestern University studying with Dr. Mallory Thompson. There, she additionally worked with Dr. Robert Harris, Victor Yampolsky, and Dr. Robert Hasty, making her equally at home in wind, orchestral, and vocal settings. Tham received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in horn performance studying with Dennis Abelson, Zachary Smith, Bob Lauver, and Steven Kostyniak at Carnegie Mellon University.