Jennifer Thomas
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Jennifer Thomas

Fall City, Washington, United States | SELF

Fall City, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Classical New Age


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"Key of Sea"

“Key of Sea” is a stunning debut from pianist/composer/violinist Jennifer Thomas. Classically-trained on both instruments from a very early age by her musician-mother as well as other teachers and professors through college, Jennifer’s lifelong immersion in and passion for music is immediately obvious. As a teenager and young adult, Thomas constantly challenged herself to play more difficult and complex classical music, culminating in winning a concerto competition that allowed her to fulfill a dream of playing the piano with a full symphony. She also continued to play the violin in local symphonies, but the piano is her first love. “Key of Sea” is made up of thirteen original works, some of which were inspired by classical pieces, and the music is a combination of solo piano tracks, piano and orchestra, piano ensemble, and one vocal selection. Although it is very soothing, Thomas’ music packs a very powerful punch both musically and emotionally. Personally, I found it wonderful to wake up to rather than go to sleep with. Thomas’ technique is flawless and jaw-dropping in its precision and agility. From one pianist to another, wow!

“Key of Sea” opens with “Beautiful Storm,” an orchestrated piece that features Thomas on piano and violin (how’d she play them both at the same time?); she also performs the orchestrations, which are very natural-sounding. Anyone who has watched a storm come in by the ocean can appreciate how this piece goes from still and shimmering to turbulent and agitated. This is a great opening piece because it demonstrates the qualities that make this a standout album - passionate piano, quiet moments, big cinematic areas, grace, beauty, and an original vision. “Prelude in F” is an energetic piano solo that dances all over the piano celebrating the good things in life. “Release” begins as a flowing piano solo. Light percussion comes in, and then strings, building the intensity. “You By My Side” is a gentle piece of musical contentment. Warmth and love are expressed in every note, and strings enhance the tender beauty of the piano. “Suite Dreams” is based on Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major and Bach’s “Ave Maria,” and features Carolyn Southworth (Jennifer’s mom!) on violin - a gorgeous collaboration! “Old Movie Romance” was Thomas’ first composition. (It is interesting to note that she didn’t start composing until the end of 2004!) Piano and strings once again create and loving and passionate ensemble. “Pure” is a “song for the angels in our lives.” Ethereal voices add innocence and charm to the lovely piano melody. “Red Aspens” is a graceful piano solo that exudes peace and serenity. “Somewhere” is a wonderful piece based on Leonard Bernstein’s song from “West Side Story.” Piano and strings give voice to the passion of the original. I really like “The Tempest,” a powerful composition for orchestra and two pianos. Like the opening track, it alternates from calm to very turbulent and agitated, but is quite different from “Beautiful Storm.” “Sospiro” is the piece Thomas likes to end her performances with. Based on a Lizst etude, this piece clearly demonstrates what a phenomenal pianist she is. Again, wow!

“Key of Sea” is an awesome debut, and presents a very exciting beginning! It is available at,,, and iTunes. Very highly recommended!

Kathy Parsons

- Solo Piano Publications

"SHS Alum, Striking the Right Chord"

Jennifer Thomas has been a musician since the days here pajamas had attached booties. Thankfully, she's improved since the days she pounded away at her toy piano beneath the family Christmas tree.

Thomas, a Stanwood High School graduate from the class of 1995, is now releasing her first album titled "Key of Sea", and the mix of classical and new age compositions promises to leave listeners sailing.

"It's classical crossover - the music is classical with newer elements, updated to sound fresh," said Thomas.

Musical success is no stranger to Thomas, whose childhood dedication led her to become the only second grader in the sixth grade orchestra - she was the concert master, too. "To me, I was just sitting where they told me to," said Thomas.

Humility isn't the only thing Thomas, now a married resident of Bothell, learned from her mother, Carolyn Southworth.

Southworth, a Camano Island resident, is also an accomplished musician and released her own first album of piano compositions in October. The album, "At the End of the Day" is currently on airwaves in 20 countries.

Being a Southworth child meant early mornings of piano and violin lessons from Mom herself - and that was before driving to 7:30 a.m. orchestra practices at school before class began.

"Being a musician myself, I couldn't help but have music in the home, " said Southworth, who taught Jennifer and her three sons to play the piano.

"Jenni was different - playing just ignited a fire inside her," said Southworth.

Thomas remembers the moment she embraced the piano as a source of joy. She was watching the Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly musical comedy "Anchors Aweigh" as a 12-year-old girl. One of the movie's most memorable scenes depicts a rehearsal at the Hollywood Bowl, where some 20 grand pianos rehearse together onstage.

"All 20 of these pianists were my age, and they were playing Liszt's 'Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2,'" said Thomas, who begged her mother to buy her the sheet music, even though it is arguably one of the most difficult piano pieces to master.

"She had no clue about how difficult it is - it's horrendous," said Southworth, "She was discouraged at first, but she would not give up."

Southworth warned her daughter of the music's difficulty but bought it anyway.

"I wanted to play it so badly that I never thought twice about how hard it was," said Thomas.

It took Thomas four years, but she did it.

Like any typical teenager, Thomas enjoyed playing loud music. However, rather than hair bands or gangsta rap, she fancied practicing songs of Rachmaninoff and Beethoven. "In their era, their music was a step ahead of the time, and it was faster than many other piano songs I was given," said Thomas.

During her college years at Brigham Young University - Idaho, Thomas began playing the violin again, and continued to grow as a pianist in various performing groups at school.

Again, a piece of incredible difficulty peaked her interest. This time it was the Prokofiev's "Piano Concerto No. 3," and Thomas said playing the piece was like a three-ring circus for her hands.

"That piece was literally acrobatics for my fingers," Thomas recalls of the roughly 40 pages of memorized music, consisting of so many multiple crossovers, atonal chord structures, and glissandos that her fingers bled on numerous occassions.

After graduation from college, Thomas spent several years playing with different performing groups and in concert series in Salt Lake City and Seattle.

It wasn't until 2004 that Thomas began composing. After attending an intimate holiday benefit concert, she was so inspired by the artists' compositions that she went home and tried herself.

Thomas began performing her compositions for friends and family, who were so taken by her work that they continually encouraged Thomas to record her songs so they could share them with others.

With a keyboard she hooked up to her computer, Thomas began recording her songs, and according to her, the first editions were lousy.

"I decided that I wanted to really do it right," said Thomas.

By the end of 2005, Thomas decided she would professionally record her own album. Southworth just so happened to be in the midst of recording her first album at that time, and so her daughter sat in on some of the recording sessions as a learning experience.

Soon after, Thomas located a studio in Bellevue and created a full-length album consisting of composed songs she played herself. Among other guest artists is her mother, who plays violin on one track.

Since the completion of the album in December, Thomas has received numerous requests from local film makers to use her music, or for her to write their scores.

Thomas and Southworth have talked about possibly working together on a future CD, but for now both musicians are content with exploring their individual talents.

"Our styles are totally different," said Southworth. "Jenni just loves classical, and I'm more interested in contemporary."

Currently, Thomas is thrilled to experience the role of those she has always admired - composers and performers of classical pieces.

"I'm not interested in being the next pop star," said Thomas. "I'm seriously interested in creating music."

- Stanwood Camano News

"Bothell pianist to perform at Release Concert for CD"

Little girls have been known to rummage through their mothers' closets, slip their small feet into too-large high heels, and parade around "just like mom."

In Jennifer Thomas' childhood, "just like mom" meant playing the piano and taking piano and violin lessons from her mother.

"She liked to play things loud and fast. I'd say, 'Jenni, slow down, slow down!'†" said Carolyn Southworth.

"She ended up fighting me for time at the piano. Who can complain about that as a teacher or parent?" said Southworth, whose family lived in Stanwood for years before moving to Camano Island.

When Thomas was 12, she saw "Anchors Aweigh," the Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra classic, and was fascinated by the scene of 20 pianists simultaneously playing Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" on 20 grand pianos.

"I pleaded with my mom to buy me the music."

It was so hard that it took Thomas four years to learn it through sheer perseverance.

Thomas, now 29 and a Bothell resident, performs Saturday in Bellevue at a CD launch concert for "Key of Sea."

While the daughter will be in the spotlight, her mother will play a piece from her own recently released CD ("At the End of the Day") and play violin on one of her daughter's songs.

Thomas describes her music as new-age classical.

"It's something I can write that comes from my heart. It has more emotion and touches people's feelings more than rock 'n' roll, and it's easier to listen to," Thomas said.

"Mom is definitely into more contemporary music. She loves jazz. I'm more classical-orientated. I'm from a little younger generation, so I put in more technobeats, downtempo beats in my music," said Thomas, who majored in classical piano studies in college.

Southworth said of her own style: "So many people tell me that when they're stressed, they turn it on and the stresses go away. But it's very upbeat music. Some people define new-age music as boring and bland, but that's not how I write.

"The funny part is that people look at my age (54) and think I'm into classical and my daughter is into more contemporary music, yet it's visa versa. I call one of my songs ("Where Eagles Soar") new-age rock," Southworth said.

For Thomas, the hardest aspect of composing deals with inspiration, "when you haven't composed anything for awhile and try to get inspiration and it's not coming. I tried to write when I knew I wasn't inspired and it never came out sounding (right). It's easiest when it comes so fast you almost can't write it down fast enough."

Thomas is happy that her mother had the opportunity to cut her own CD.

"She's been composing ever since I was really young and it's something she always wanted to do. It's always been a dream. She just needed a little encouragement," Thomas said.

About 1? years ago, Thomas started putting her music on the Internet for people to download. She encouraged her mother to do the same.

"Within six to eight months, she had 14,000 downloads. That's what helped her go ahead, all those people who loved her music," Thomas said. "She began to think, 'Maybe I can really do it.'†"

Rather then rent a Steinway for recording in the studio, Southworth had her 7-foot Baldwin concert piano moved to the studio.

"We could have recorded it at our house but we have Whidbey jets flying overhead," Southworth said.

Mother and daughter have talked about creating a CD together, playing to their strengths even though their styles differ.

"I'm good at writing melody; Jenni is good at orchestrating things."

Neither skill requires high heels.

Carolyn Southworth and Jennifer Thomas are mother-daughter musicians, each with recent CD releases.
- Everett Herald

"Mother-Daughter Team Create Lullaby Album"

The East Oregonian

When Jennifer Thomas’ newborn son refused to fall asleep at night, she got an inspiration.

Thomas, a pianist and composer, set little Preston in a baby swing and started playing sweet lullabies on her piano. The baby melted into slumber as quickly as if Mr. Sandman himself had made a house call.

The result of Thomas’ revelation is “The Lullaby Album,” created by Thomas and her mother, Carolyn Southworth, and personally tested by Preston. The music is relaxing enough to soothe not only infants, but stressed and frazzled adults.

Southworth, who grew up in Pendleton and now lives in Camano Island, Wash., said her daughter was at her wit’s end with Preston.

“The little stinker would not go to sleep,” she said, laughing. “He was traumatized.”

Once Preston started getting his sleep, Thomas mulled over the idea of creating a collection of traditional and original lullabies to help other parents lull their babies into dreamland. She asked her mom to compose some of the songs and play on the two-CD album with her.

“I didn’t have to think about it for more than two seconds,” Southworth said.

The women, both talented pianists, violinists and composers, released solo albums prior to “The Lullaby Album.” Southworth debuted with “The End of Day,” while Thomas released an album called “Key of Sea.”

Southworth, who started playing violin and piano at the age of five, is an alumnus of the Pendleton School District’s strings program.

“I was one of the original kids under Shirlene McMichael,” Southworth said.

McMichael taught in the ’60s when Pendleton served as Suzuki’s first American pilot program for a method of teaching stringed instruments that involves immersion and memorizing by rote. Though the method was wildly popular in Japan, it didn’t reach the United States until school board member Betty Feves talked the board into giving it a try.

Southworth, daughter of Dr. Derrell and Thelma Lindsay, also took private violin and piano lessons.

“I will always be grateful to the many wonderful teachers that I had in Pendleton, such as Shirlene McMichael, Rob and Barbara Roy, Betty Feves, Mabel Gerards and Betty White,” said Southworth. “Those people made a huge impact on my life,”

She discovered music theory in Roy’s classroom. The lessons took so well that, later, at Brigham Young University, she “sat there twiddling my thumbs for two years” in the school’s required music theory classes.

While Southworth taught all four of her children to play piano, the lessons caught fire only in Jennifer, who seemed to spend every spare moment practicing.

“She practiced all hours,” Southworth said. “I actually had to say, ‘Jenny, stop practicing.’”

Her drive paid off. She’s won numerous competitions and Thomas’ music caught the ear of independent filmmakers and has been heard on NBC’s Universal Sports network.

With the lullaby project, mother and daughter divided the composing and orchestration almost down the middle. The women collaborated from afar, since Thomas lives an hour-and-a-half down the road in Fall City, Wash.

One of Southworth’s compositions is “Unseen Angel,” inspired by a friend who suffered from multiple organ failure and seemed past hope when she revived.

“She literally died – her husband worked on her, giving her CPR, for two hours,” Southworth said. “She was blessed from the other side. The doctors were shocked. She’s perfect today.”

Emmy Award-winning pianist Jace Vek orchestrated the song and Grammy Award winner Paul Speer engineered and mixed the album. The album contains vocals by Jillian Goldin and Lori Cunningham.

The two discs have identical song lists. The first is piano with orchestra and the second contains piano solos. The second CD is aimed at children and is “Preston-approved.”

- East Oregonian Newspaper

"Jennifer Thomas - Key of Sea"

Reviewed by Michael Debbage

There are two schools of theory as to why 2006’s Key Of Sea has been overlooked to date. The first theory is that the album was way under promoted and the second theory is that this reviewer was clueless and has only just managed to get on the bandwagon. Even if the latter is the correct selection then we are about to make up for that three year oversight. Simply put, Key Of Sea is one of those cross pollinating albums that is not only experimental and intriguing but also exquisite and invigorating. Buried in classical themes and arrangements, Jennifer Thomas also brings beautiful warmth to her music that is countered with melodies that will enrapture your heart.

Clocking in at just less than 52 minutes, Key Of Sea has a total of thirteen tracks, five of which are adaptations of other composers though personalized by Jennifer with her own variation of the theme. In fact, the album begins with one such arrangement via her take on MacDowell‘s Piano Concerto No.2 courtesy of her interpretation entitled “A Beautiful Storm”. The song begins slowly as Jennifer continues to work the entire range of her piano, complimented by sweeping orchestrated strings. The song is moody and intense and is a very impressive opener. Equally as remarkable is her interpretation of J.S. Bach “Cello Suite No.1 in G Major” courtesy of “Suite Dreams”. This song also features fellow artist and mother Carolyn Southworth on violin and it is utterly breathtaking. Turn up the volume to fully enjoy this beauty.

But Key Of Sea is not just about Jennifer’s interpretations of someone else’s music. Pay close attention to her own compositions and you will quickly note her gift of composing her own material. Skip forward to “Will’s Song” that is both reflective and rambunctious with its delicate piano work countered by her colorful orchestrated string arrangements. Equal to the task are the extraordinary “Old Movie Romance” and “Pure” that focus more on Jennifer’s top draw piano work that is skillful, precise yet fluid and warm. Much like her peer William Joseph, she has the keen sense and ability to present her gift of playing with a sense of warm affection and adventure. This is best heard on the thunderous “The Tempest”, though at times its seductive qualities would suggest renaming it “The Temptress”. Either way the results are sensually sumptuous.

Key Of Sea represents Jennifer Thomas’ debut album, yet from the sleeve photography, production to the astonishing musical contents, her freshman offering are more in line with a veteran who has been creating music for years. Thus, her immediate problem will be how to follow up with this stellar debut. Apparently, she has just released a collaborative effort with the equally talented artist Carolyn Southworth entitled The Lullaby Album. Word on the street indicates that her follow up effort is just as breathtaking and fresh as her debut Key Of Sea. Needless to say one can only expect many more brilliant musical moments from this relatively newcomer Jennifer Thomas.
- Michael Debbage -

"Lullaby Album Is All in the Family"

By Scott Iwasaki

Nearly three years ago, I met a woman named Carolyn Southworth. She and her husband, Ron, came to town for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints general conference.

They gave me a CD of Carolyn's piano music, "At the End of the Day."

At first I expected a church-oriented CD, but instead, after talking with them, I realized that the music was what I like to call contemporary instrumental.

Other contemporary instrumentalists I listen to include Suzanne Ciani, David Lanz and the guitar and woodwind duo Tingstad & Rumbel.

To my surprise, Southworth knows Nancy Rumbel and had her play on the album, which is one of my favorites to this day.

Well, Southworth has released a new album titled "The Lullaby Album."

This two-CD release, by Southworth and her daughter Jennifer Thomas, reminds me of David Lanz's "Skyline Firedance" because one disc is solo piano versions of songs and the other disc features the same piano songs with an orchestral arrangement.

And to tell you all the truth, "The Lullaby Album," which features traditional, pop and original melodies, is quite good.

Southworth said the album came about after Thomas, also a recording artist who released her debut CD "Key of Sea" in 2007, had her first child. The baby had difficulty falling asleep. So Thomas would play the piano to calm her young boy down.

The sessions gave Thomas the idea to do an album of lullabies, and she asked her mother to make the project a joint venture.

The result is a nice mother-daughter collaboration, which is available at,, and

Southworth's heartfelt arrangements on tracks such as "Sweet Dreams," "All the Pretty Little Horses," "Dream Weaver" and "All Through the Night" intertwine flawlessly with Thomas' tracks that include "Brahms' Lullaby," her own "Dancing on the Clouds," "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and Billy Joel's "Goodnight, My Angel."

Award-winning vocalists Jillian Goldin and Lori Cunningham add their touches to some of the tracks, and the orchestration on the songs "Dream Weaver," "Twinkle Twinkle...," "Old Scottish Lullaby" and "Unseen Angel," by Emmy Award-winning pianist Jace Vek, is flawless.

Grammy Award-winner Paul Speer, who, in addition to his solo works, has recorded albums with Lanz, engineered and mixed "The Lullaby Album."

Two songs caught my attention. The first was the LDS Church Primary song "I Am a Child of God," which, I must say, is my mother's favorite Primary song. Southworth's arrangement will probably make my mom cry.

The second is "Unseen Angel." Southworth said the song was inspired by an incident in which her friend was rushed to the hospital suffering from multiple organ failure. Through faith and the efforts of paramedics and doctors, her friend, to the doctors' amazement, made a miraculous full recovery.

"The Lullaby Album" is definitely a keeper for me.
- The Deseret News - Salt Lake City, UT

"Carolyn Southworth - Jennifer Thomas "The Lullaby Album""

The Lullaby Album

Carolyn Southworth & Jennifer Thomas

2009 / Tickled Ivory Music & Heron’s Point Music

Disc 1: 53.4 minutes Disc 2: 48.9 minutes

The Lullaby Album is a very special two-disc collection of traditional and original lullabies composed, arranged and performed by Carolyn Southworth and Jennifer Thomas. Disc One is piano with orchestra and Disc Two is the same songs as piano solos. Two factors make this album unusual. The first is that Jennifer Thomas is Carolyn Southworth’s daughter, and the second is that they teamed up to create music that Jennifer’s baby, a problem sleeper, could fall asleep to. As they say in the liner notes, all of the music has been tried, tested and “Preston approved.” Both pianists are classically trained, both are piano teachers, and each has released a solo album. Without the liner notes, it is not obvious who is playing which songs, so the album is smooth, polished, and heartfelt from beginning to end. The artists’ intention with the two discs was that the solo piano CD would be for calming at bedtime and the orchestrated one is “for those who like a little more to listen to.” Paul Speer did the mixing and mastering of the album, and Jace Vek contributed orchestrations for four of the pieces. I really can’t say I prefer one CD over the other - I love the simple honesty of solo piano, but the orchestrated versions are compelling, too. I’m glad I don’t have to choose!

Both discs begin with Brahms’ Lullaby, probably the best-known lullaby in the world. Jennifer Thomas’ solo piano arrangement is tender and sweet. Carolyn Southworth’s “Sweet Dreams” appears three times - as a piano solo, orchestrated with piano, and with vocals. All three versions are gorgeous, but I think I like the solo version best. There are several other high points on the solo CD. Thomas’ “Baby of Mine (Preston’s Song)” is a favorite, filled with love and wonder. Another favorite is Southworth’s arrangement of “All the Pretty Little Horses,” a poignant minor key beauty. Thomas’ “Un Petit Nocturne” is a classically influenced gem. Her “Dancing On the Clouds” is dreamy and magical, as is Southworth’s take on “Old Scottish Lullaby.” Thomas’ arrangement of Billy Joel’s “Goodnight, My Angel” is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Highlights of the piano with orchestra CD include “Baby of Mine,” where the piano is backed with strings and percussion and “Un Petit Nocturne” with harp and angelic voices as accompaniment. Jace Vek’s orchestration gives “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” a very Celtic flavor that includes bagpipe and tambourine - a spirited and fascinating arrangement! Vek also orchestrated “Old Scottish Lullaby,” this time with full orchestra - absolutely dreamy! Thomas keeps the orchestration behind “Goodnight, My Angel” simple, adding strings to embellish the enchanting melody. “Unseen Angel” begins with very spare accompaniment, but becomes almost cinematic with full orchestration as it builds and then gently ebbs back to solo piano.

Jennifer Thomas and Carolyn Southworth have created a very personal yet very universal collection with The Lullaby Album. Even if you don’t have children in your household, give your inner child a treat with this warm and soothing recording. Both of the CDs are full and rich, and should appeal to hearts of any age. I think I’ll cuddle up with my blankie and listen to this music again! It’s available from,, Amazon, and CD Baby. Highly recommended!

Kathy Parsons


- Kathy Parsons from


"The Lullaby Album" - full length CD - 07/2009
"Key of Sea" - full length CD - 01/2007

Featured on:
"Best of the Swan lake Moving Image and Music Awards 2008" - full length cd - 11/08
"Best of the Swan Lake Moving Image and Music Awards" - full length CD - 08/07



Jennifer started playing the piano and violin at age 5, and went on to study music at Brigham Young University- Idaho . Jennifer won the silver medal in her university’s concerto competition, performing Prokofiev’s 3rd Piano Concerto. She was also invited to perform as a concerto soloist with Salt Lake City’s Murray Symphony on the MacDowell Piano Concerto No 2. She has worked with the Seattle Symphony, participated with the Seattle Composer’s Salon at Benaroya Hall, and was a featured soloist at the Roosevelt Hotel. Jennifer performed with the Salt Lake Temple Square Concert Series for 3 years, and has also performed with various symphonies including the Oregon Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra.

Jennifer began composing music in 2004, combining the sounds of her classical training with modern new age, pop, and down-tempo beats making her a perfect example of a classical crossover. Jennifer released her debut album Key of Sea in January of 2007, and quickly became a favorite among listeners in the instrumental/piano genre. The album was among Kathy Parson’s “Top 20 of 2007? pick, as well as Kathy's "Top 40 of the Decade" list. Key of Sea is enjoyed on new-age/contemporary radio stations across the globe, and has captured the interest of filmmakers worldwide.

Jennifer’s music has been featured in numerous independent films, television networks including NBC, MGM, and more. Jennifer's first original filmscore for the short film "Minuet" won the Gold Medal of Excellence at the 2011 Park City Film Music Festival. Jennifer was also nominated for the 2011 Hollywood Music in Media Awards for "Best Classical Song".

Her most recent album, The Lullaby Album, was a collaboration with her mother, Carolyn Southworth. The lullaby theme was inspired by new motherhood as Jennifer had her first child, Preston, in the summer of 2008 with husband, Will Thomas. The album features the talents of Grammy nominated producer/engineer Paul Speer, Emmy award winning composer Jace Vek, Ourstsage Grand prize winner Jillian Goldin, and Ourstage multi-channel winner Lori Cunningham. The Lullaby Album was included in both Kathy Parsons and Michael Debbages' "Top 20 of 2009" lists.

Jennifer and her husband, Will, have 2 sons, Preston (born June 2008), and Taylor (born Aug 2010). Up until the recent birth of her 2nd child, Jennifer kept a small studio of 15 piano students, and 2 violin students. With the hiatus away from teaching, she has concentrated her musical efforts more on composing and performing in conjunction with the release of a new Classical Crossover album entitled "Illumiation", expected to be released early 2012.