Poster Composer Omar Thomas
Composer Omar Thomas writes music rooted in topics such as Black liberation and affirmation, including those who are also from the LGBTQIA+ community.
Rhapsody in Black

Omar Thomas composes music rooted in Black and LGBTQIA+ liberation and affirmation

Rhapsody in Black - Omar Thomas

Representation is a vital part of the fight for equity in the arts. That is, if you see someone who looks like you doing something you’re interested in, you’re more likely to try it, too.

According to a study by the League of American Orchestras in 2023, people of color now make up about 21 percent of orchestra players nationwide. The study also found that the share of Black players barely shifted, rising to 2.4 percent from 1.5 percent.

According to composer Omar Thomas, that low percentage of representation extends to the repertoire. Thomas said that, in all his years playing in concert bands, he never got to play music celebrating Black traditions. So as a composer, he writes music he wished he could have played. His pieces speak directly to the issues of representation, social consciousness and liberation.

Thomas’ music is rooted in topics such as Black liberation and affirmation, including those who are also members of the LGBTQIA+ community. As an openly gay man, Thomas has written many works to tell their stories.

Some of his recent music honors the legacy and memory of trans lives lost to violence, and lifts up trans women worldwide “who continue to exist unapologetically and who demand to be seen.”


Host: Vernon Neal

Producer: Dan Nass

Writers: Andrea Blain and Scott Blankenship

Executive Producer: Julie Amacher

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About Rhapsody in Black

Where we turn up the voices of Black artists in the world of classical music, with host Vernon Neal.

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About Rhapsody in Black