Violinist and teacher Martha McIlhatten Thomas is the founder and Executive Director of Vivace String Camp, Inc. now in its tenth season at Houghton College. Mrs. Thomas teaches string methods in the Music Education department of the Greatbatch School of Music. Also co - founder of Thomasschule, Inc., Martha maintains a violin - teaching studio in Hume, NY and also at Houghton Academy.
Martha Thomas holds degrees in Early Childhood Education from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Masters Degree in Violin Performance from Mannes College. Her studies toward her Masters Degree included course work and violin study at the Juilliard School of Music and Mannes College. She studied violin with Sally Thomas of the Juilliard School at Mannes and for nine summers at the Meadowmount School. Martha received her Suzuki Certification at the Ithaca Summer Institute, completing four levels.
Prior to her time in New York City Martha served for eight seasons as Principal and Assistant Principal Second Violin in the Virginia Symphony and has worked as a free lance violinist over many years in Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Presently she performs with the Wellsville Performing Arts Orchestra, The Amherst Symphony, the Olean Community Orchestra and the Houghton College Philharmonia.
Among the many performers she has collaborated with, perhaps most notable are conductors Aaron Copland, Leonard Slatkin and Kurt Mazur and performers Joseph Silverstein, Ida Kavafian, Nadja Salerno - Sonnenberg, Glenn Dicterow, Marvin Hamlisch and Dizzy Gillespie. She serenaded baseball legend Yogi Berra on his 74th birthday!
Her passion for music and teaching is second only to her wonderful family, husband Steven Thomas, their five children and eight grandchildren.