Dr. Thomas Hohstadt, age 87, was born September 5, 1933, in Ryan, Oklahoma, to Leslie and Maye Hohstadt. He died January 3, 2022, in Odessa, Texas. He was married to his wife Muriel Colvin July 21, 1957. He was an international symphony conductor, author, lecturer, recording artist, composer, and soloist.
A Fulbright scholar, he earned four advanced degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Vienna Akademie für Musik. In addition, he received the Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music and advanced study from the renowned maestro, Pierre Monteux, at the Domaine School of Conductors.
A twenty-eight-year conducting career included positions with the Eastman School of Music; the Honolulu, Amarillo, and Midland-Odessa Symphonies; and guest appearances in eight nations.
With the Midland-Odessa Symphony, he recorded Music of the Symphonic Southwest and The Permian Symphony, distributed by Allegro Imports and under the Citadel Records label, he recorded Adventures in Hollywood. Hohstadt also conducted broadcasts over 194 radio stations as part of the Parkway Production's America in Concert Series. Recordings of these concerts are now part of the Library of Congress.
Previously in his conducting career, Hohstadt was a well-known trumpet artist. By the age of 15, he had performed as a soloist in seventy-eight major American cities. Later, he became first trumpet in Eastman's first Wind Ensemble. He also performed in the Rochester Philharmonic, Oklahoma City Symphony, and Honolulu Symphony. And, while serving in the United States Army Band, he performed at the White House and other important government and military events.
A pioneer in the field of virtual reality, Hohstadt shifted the focus from VR as a technology to VR as a language and art form. He was the first to add virtual reality to the curriculum of The University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He received the Award of Merit from The Society for New Communications Research for his co-authorship of “Voices of the Virtual World.” Recently, he co-authored “The Age of Virtual Reality” for The American Communication Journal.
Dr. Hohstadt was also recognized for his achievements in the humanities. He participated in the founding of the Texas Committee for the Humanities, directed their seminars, and consulted and reviewed grant proposals for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
He is cited by leading researchers, such as Veative and Haptical, listing his “Age of Virtual Reality” as one of the top 20 books that will “expand your mind.”
He was also the first to add the History of Film Music to the curriculum of UTPB and received a grant to develop its online version. In addition to the history of film music, the course pioneered an understanding of the role of emotions, feelings, and senses, the questions of reality and illusion, the ethics of illusion, and the trends toward the future.
Hohstadt had a comprehensive background in film music. He recorded the soundtracks for Bruce Broughton's Silverado and several film scores by the famous Hollywood composer, Dimitri Tiomkin. And his recording of "Adventures in Hollywood" under the Citadel label has been widely received.
He was a contributor to Cue Sheet, the Film Music Society's Quarterly Journal, and his research into the Ancient Hebrew word, damah, became the basis for naming the Damah Film Festival. He was instrumental in pioneering the relationship between the art of virtual reality and the future of film and film music. His final books, “The Age of Virtual Reality” and “Film Music: A Journey of Felt Meaning” were recognized by VRVienna. In the spring of 2016 Dr. Hohstadt served as the organization’s main TED talk speaker.
He is survived by his wife, Muriel; son, Lowell, and his wife Kathy; daughter, Leslie, and her husband Dan Borwick. His grandchildren are Danny Borwick, Mya Borwick, Sarah Holder, and Jonathan Hohstadt. His great-grandchild is Mercy Marie Borwick.
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