Thomas Cabaniss

Thomas Cabaniss (b. Charleston SC, 1962) is a composer for dance, theater, film, and the concert stage. His wide-ranging catalog of works includes music for:

Orchestra: Double Rainbow (double piano concerto for Michael and Jessica Chow Shinn, commissioned by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra); 

Come To PlayDrumlines, To Make Words Sing, and Away I Fly (Carnegie Hall commissions for Link Up educational concerts performed by over 120 orchestras across the United States and around the world); 

Chamber:  Songs from Joe’s Chapel (piano solo), Trinity Pass (for two pianos), String Quartets No. 1 – 6, One Silken Thread (for cello and piano four hands), Tiny Bits of Outrageous Love (piano four hands), and Sketches of Venasque (piano solo). 

Choral: My Song Is a Fire (cantata for soloists, chorus and orchestra), Three Sabbaths (for 2 oboes, string orchestra and chorus); Watchman, Heaven Is, Celestial Fire (for the Young People’s Chorus of NYC), and Behold the Star (New York Concert Singers; New World Records).  

Opera/Music Theater: Firesongs, Denmark VeseyThe Sandman, The German Refugee, Otoyotoy, and Camille’s Rainbow

Dance: The Reclamation, Noise + Speed, It’s All True, and The Short-Cut. 

Theater: scores for Spoleto Festival USA, Yale Repertory Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, Dallas Theater Center, Center Stage Baltimore, Portland Stage Company, Pearl Theater, Primary Stages, Target Margin Theater, Juilliard Drama Division. 

Awards: Obie Award, 1998; Drama Desk nomination, 1998; ASCAP Foundation Award; score for The Lunch Date, an Academy Award-winning short film, 1990. 

Cabaniss helped to create the Lullaby Project at Carnegie Hall, serving young parents in shelters, hospitals, and prisons with collaboratively created songs for their children. He has been teaching at Juilliard in the Dance Division since 1998 and in the Music Division since 2007. He served as education director for the New York Philharmonic and Music Animateur at the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has written articles for Chamber Music Magazine and the Teaching Artist Journal. His music is published by Boosey & Hawkes, European American Music, G. Schirmer, and musiCreate publiCations. He is a member of ASCAP and an associated artist of Target Margin Theater. 


Four Elements

Release Date: January 19, 2024
Catalog Number: NV6580
21st Century
String Quartet
FOUR ELEMENTS from Thomas Cabaniss showcases the composer’s creative versatility developed over three decades collaborating across various artistic disciplines. Writing music for dance, theater, film, and the concert stage, Cabaniss incorporates elements from all of these forms in his works for string quartet. Many of the movements started out as portions of dance and theater works, while others were crafted from the start for concert audiences. Performed by the Charleston Symphony String Quartet, FOUR ELEMENTS presents Cabaniss’s String Quartets 1, 2, & 5 — representing the first half of his output in this musical form. Taken together, the works serve as a fitting reflection of his wide-ranging pursuits and passions.