Dr. Thomas Jerome Anderson
February 28, 1943 – October 29, 2005
Dr. Thomas J. Anderson devoted his life and career to the study and promotion of music and the arts. He was an educator, a musician, an administrator, a spokesperson and a leader in the music and arts community of the metro Atlanta area. He was a role model, a mentor, and a friend to many.
Dr. Anderson grew up in the Atlanta area and graduated from Duke University with a major in music. He earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D from Florida State University in music history and literature. He studied advanced conducting with Richard Burgin, Associate Conductor and Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Tom began his teaching career in 1967 at Western Carolina University but left for a faculty position with Georgia Perimeter College, formerly known as Dekalb College, later that year. When Dekalb College became a unit of the University system, Tom earned tenure and the rank of Professor of Music in 1986. He was the Department Chair of Fine Arts from 1971 until 1996, when he was appointed Provost of the Clarkston campus until his retirement in 1999.
Dr. Tom Anderson was instrumental in establishing the Dekalb Wind Ensemble in 1967 and was its director until 1986. He also conducted 34 productions of the DeKalb Music Theater/Dekalb Opera Theater between 1980 and 1996.
Dr. Anderson became the conductor and music director for the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra in 1978. He brought the Orchestra from its inception as a community performing group of DeKalb College to its current position as one of the Atlanta area’s most respected orchestras. Tom conducted more than 400 major compositions of orchestral repertoire with some of the music world’s most acclaimed soloists as guest artists in his 27 years at his post.
Tom was a founding and lifetime member of the DeKalb Council for the Arts and a former member of the Music Advisory Panel for the Georgia Council for the Arts. He was a former member of the DeKalb International Choral Festival, Arts in Atlanta Project, Board of Directors for the Arts and Business Council of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and the former treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of The Conductors Guild, the largest and most prestigious professional organization for conductors in the world.
Tom Anderson has been recognized and honored by many organizations. Georgia Perimeter College honored him as its Cole Fellow in 1996 – the most prestigious award the college bestows. He received the Mary Clark Community Arts Award in 2001 from the Decatur Civic Chorus for his contributions to the arts in DeKalb County. He was named a Lexus Leader of the Arts by WABE/WBPA for July of 2005.