Thomas Kociela, Music Director and Conductor

Thomas Kociela portraitThomas Kociela was most recently Assistant Conductor of the Temecula Valley Symphony in California and Music Director of the Temecula Valley Youth Symphony.

From 2006-2013 Thomas was a substitute and extra musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) on trombone, euphonium, and bass trumpet. He performed under world-class conductors including Bernard Haitink, Michael Tilson Thomas, James Conlon, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Sir Mark Elder, and David Robertson, among others – and accompanied artists like Yo-Yo Ma, Michelle DeYoung, Sir James Galway, Stefano Secco, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Sir Patrick Stewart. Thomas traveled to Carnegie Hall on tour with the CSO three times, performing under Pierre Boulez and CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti.

Thomas also was the Assistant Conductor at the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. He directed the University of Chicago Brass Ensemble and founded the Chicago High School for the Arts Wind Ensemble.

Thomas earned a master’s degree in conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music and a bachelor’s degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts in trombone performance and music education. He has pursued additional studies with conductor pedagogues Victor Yampolsky, Cristian Măcelaru, Robert Franz, Markand Thakar, David Jacobs, Erin Freeman, and Donald Schleicher.

More information about Mr. Kociela is available on his personal website,