Whitney Thrall was born in Buffalo, New York in 1922, and is a veteran of World War II. He received Bachelor and Master of Music (cum laude) degrees from Syracuse University. Prior to joining the University of Hawaii music faculty in 1972, he was Assistant Director of the Nassau Conservatory of Music on Long Island, New York.
Ross Parmenter of the New York Times said of his successful Carnegie Recital Hall debut, “Whitney Thrall is a pianist with a deft, assured, accurate technique. He is also an intelligent musician who explores his selections not only for their meaning, but for the varying beauty of their sonorities. Each work as approached, too, in its own style.”
As a youth, Mr. Thrall was an avid composer and studied with Ernst Bacon and Dika Newlin while attending Syracuse University. Always interested in 20th century music, his faculty recitals at the University of Hawaii introduced many important contemporary compositions to local audiences.
Performances by U.H. faculty members of his compositions include the song cycles “Caravanserai” by Laurence Paxton, and “A Calling” by Julianne Cross. “Looking Back—Fantasy Variations” was written and performed by Mr. Thrall as the commissioned piece of the Hawaii Chapter of the Music Teachers national Association in 1991. The Variations were revised by the composer in 2009.