Composer and conductor Thomas Duffy’s interests and research range from non-tonal analysis to jazz, from wind band history to creativity and the brain. Under his direction, the Yale Bands have performed at conferences of the College Band Directors National Association and New England College Band Association; for club audiences at NYC’s Village Vanguard and Iridium, Ronnie Scotts’s (London), and the Belmont (Bermuda); performed as part of the inaugural ceremonies for President George H.W. Bush; and concertized in nineteen countries in the course of sixteen international tours.
Duffy combined his interest in music and science in multiple projects: to produce a two-year lecture/performance series, Music and the Brain, with the Yale School of Medicine; to develop, with the Yale School of Nursing, a musical intervention to train nursing students to better hear and identify body sounds; and to create a genre of music for the bilateral conductor — in which a “split-brained conductor” must conduct a different meter in each hand, sharing downbeats.
He has been awarded the Yale Tercentennial Medal for Composition, the Elm/ Ivy Award, the Yale School of Music Cultural Leadership Citation and certificates of appreciation by the United States Attorney’s Office for his Yale 4/Peace: Rap for Justice concerts – music programs designed for social impact. He has served as associate, deputy, and acting dean of the School of Music. He has served as a member of the Fulbright National Selection Committee, the Tanglewood II Symposium planning committee, and completed the MLE program at the Harvard University Institute for Management and Leadership in Education. He has served as: president of the New England College Band Directors Association, Connecticut Composers Inc., and the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA); editor of the CBDNA Journal; publicity chair for the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles; and chair of the Connecticut Music Educators Association’s Professional Affairs and Government Relations committees. For nine years, he represented music education in Yale’s Teacher Preparation Program. He is a member of American Bandmasters Association, American Composers Alliance, the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, Connecticut Composers Incorporated, the Social Science Club, and BMI.
An active composer with a D.M.A. in composition from Cornell University, where he was a student of Karel Husa and Steven Stucky, Duffy has completed commissions and conducted ensembles all over the world. In 2011, he was selected as to conduct the NAFME National Honor Band in the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. He joined the Yale faculty in 1982.