Pianist and composer Tom Jennings has performed with artists from a wide array of genres in a career spanning over 30 years. Tom grew up in the beautiful mountains of Roanoke, Virginia, where he studied piano with Dorothy Dunbar and Milton Granger, accompanied the choir at Patrick Henry High School and played for services at First Baptist Church.
Tom received bachelor and masters degrees in classical piano at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where he studied with Landon Bilyeu and Ellis Marsalis. At VCU, he was the winner of the concerto competition, performing the Liszt Concerto No. 1 with the VCU Symphony, and was the pianist for Jazz Orchestra 1, playing alongside future stars James Genus, Steve Wilson, and others. It was also at VCU that Tom met and married his wife of 34 years, soprano Michelle McBride Jennings. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music, where he studied classical piano with Constance Keene, while also performing with the MSM Jazz Orchestra 1.
Hailed by the Boston Globe as a “highly attuned pianist,” Tom has accompanied opera luminaries Ben Heppner and Jerome Hines, and cabaret stars Steve Ross, Karen Akers, and Leslie Uggams. Tom has appeared on numerous recordings by a diverse array of artists, including DeShannon Higa, Terry Silverlight, Gary Haase, Steve Sacks, Emily Drennan, Soo Bae, and many others.
His latest project as a leader, Sunday Jazz, is a 4-album collection of jazz arrangements of church music, featuring some of New York’s top musicians. In December 2020, Tom released Viewed from Above, a collection of works for string quartet, piano, and soprano, featuring Michelle Jennings.
Tom’s compositions and arrangements include dozens of jazz hymn arrangements, works for string orchestra and soloist, string quartet and soloist, original songs and liturgical music, pieces for cello, oboe, brass quintet, and much more.
With 30 years experience as a church music director, he has lectured at universities and conferences, and been profiled in publications such as Christianity Today, Charisma, and Worship Leader. He is a contributor to It Was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God. His original hymns and worship songs appear in numerous hymnals and are licensed by CCLI.
Recordings (as pianist, composer, arranger)