TTU Home School of Music Faculty Thomas M. Cimarusti

Thomas M. Cimarusti

Thomas M. Cimarusti is Assistant Professor of Musicology and Director of the World Music Ensemble at Texas Tech University. Upon completion of his Bachelors and Masters degrees, he pursued  doctoral studies at Florida State University where he defended his dissertation, "The Songs of Luigi Gordigiani (1806-1860): 'lo schuberto italiano',"  and completed certificates in Early Music (Area of Interest: Music of the Moravian Church), and World Music (Area of Interest: Folk Music of Italy). In 2010 he was the recipient of the Hemphill Wells Excellence in Teaching Award and the Global Vision Service Award. He has taught courses in 18th-19th century music at Florida State University, Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University, and Texas Tech University and has presented various lectures in Utah, New Mexico, and Texas. Additionally, he founded and currently directs a summer study abroad trip to Italy, and serves on the Study Abroad Scholarship Committee, Vernacular Music Center Scholarship Committee, the University Honors Task Force Committee, and as a board member of the Roots Music Institute. He is also an active member of the Diversity on Campus Coalition.

His interests are in 18th- and 19th century music, sonata form theory, manuscript/archival studies, folk/world music performance, and the music of Astor Piazzolla. He has presented numerous papers for international, national, and local conferences including the International Conference on Romanticism, the American Musicological Society, the International Association of Music Libraries, and has chaired sessions at the International Conference on Arts and the Humanities and for a Symposium on Italian Folk Music. In 2011, Thomas completed an edition of Ernst von Dohnányi's Piano Quartet in F# minor for Doblinger Musikverlag and provided a pre-concert lecture for the quartet's North American premiere in New York City. Other publications have appeared in The Organ Encyclopedia and Perspectives on Ernst von Dohnányi. Forthcoming publications include “Un collezione di manoscritti Paisiello” in Proceedings of the International Association of Music Libraries, an 18th- and 19th century primary source reader, editions of five Moravian songs by Johann Friedrich Peter (1746-1813; recorded on Loveliest Immanuel CD, 2010), and a collection of character pieces by the Moravian sisters, Louisa (1826-1845) and Lisetta von Vleck (1830-1914).

In addition to his publications, he has designed an online graduate music survey course and has edited and annotated on online database of music ephemera contained in the Weiselberg Collection of Music Manuscripts in Texas Tech University’s Special Collections and co-designed the TTU School of Music’s undergraduate Certificate Program in World Music. In conjunction with other scholars, he is currently working on a database of identifying copyists associated with the Neapolitan school of opera composers, particularly those of Giovanni Paisiello (1740-1816).

In 2009 Thomas founded TTU's World Music Ensemble, TZUMBA!, a 30-member ensemble exploring and performing the traditional musics from around the world. The ensemble currently owns over 50 instruments from around the globe, including indigenous instruments from Mexico (guitarron, vihuela), Ghana (djembes and dununs), Italy (frame drums, launneddas), Hawaii (ipus), Peru (sikus and quenas), and many others. In addition to musical traditions from these areas, the ensemble has performed selections of music from Bulgaria, Egypt, New Zealand, Poland, and Turkey. Recently, two ensemblettes have developed out of the World Music Ensemble: the TTU Mariachi Ensemble and the TTU Tango Camerata, both of which actively participate in university and community events.

As an avid accordionist, Thomas has been invited as a guest artist to perform with Chamber Music Amarillo, the Quartz Music Festival, and the Texas Tech University Symphony Orchestra. He has directed and performed in hundreds of concerts including those with the TTU World Music Ensemble, the TTU Celtic Ensemble, the West Texas Children’s Chorus, and for various university events, and student recitals. In addition, he has performed repeatedly with legendary accordionist Dick Contino and numerous world music groups including Andean, Brazilian, German, African, and Irish ensembles. He has also provided original music for two Italian documentaries (Postcards from Italy and Piana) and the incidental music for a Lubbock Community Theater production of  Bernard Pomerance’s play The Elephant Man. His first recording as a guest artist appeared on the jazz album “This Side Up.”  

Thomas currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on subjects including Music of the Common Practice Period, Symphonic Literature, Chamber Literature, War and Music, Music and Culture in Modernizing Italy, and Great Composer Seminars (Beethoven and Mozart).

To contact Thomas Cimarusti, email him at Roots Music Institute: