Dr Denton Lanakila Thomas is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (DMA, MM) and the University of Missouri-Columbia (BMA, cum laude). Dr Thomas is a member of the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the Pi Kappa Lambda honor society. His primary teachers were Dr Nathaniel Brickens and Mr Troy Marsh, but Denton has taken additional study with internationally recognized trombonists and pedagogues including Bill Watrous, Paul McKee, Jim Widner, Charles Vernon, Randy Hawes, Eric Klay, Michael Bertoncello, and others.
Dr Thomas' 2008 research on focal embouchure dystonia made an early effort to collect major medical research on the disease and distribute it to musicians in an informative and clear manner.
Between 2003 and 2008, Dr Thomas lived and worked in Austin, Texas, the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World. He instructed both high school and university trombone students, and he appeared regularly in the Austin music community. He has performed with Rick White's Monster Big Band, one of the most active big bands in Austin, as well various small ensembles in commercial and traditional styles. Outside of Austin, Dr Thomas performed with the Jim Widner Big Band alongside trombonist Paul McKee and pianist Shelly Berg, and previously worked at and performed in fine-art festivals and camps including the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Texas Music Festival in Houston, and the Missouri Summer Band Institute.
Dr Thomas’ compositions and arrangements have been presented by ensembles at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Melbourne, and various secondary and professional ensembles in the USA and Australia. His products include chamber and solo works, most of which prominently display the trombone and other brass instruments.
Dr Thomas' teaching in Australia has included secondary-level masterclasses and instruction, a lecture at the 'Sounds Great' Conference on Excellence in Education, and repeated appearances as an adjudicator at the Melbourne School Bands Festival and as a tutor at music camps in Victoria. He is currently on the brass teaching and band conducting staff of Carey Baptist Grammar School, Camberwell High School, Yarra Valley Grammar School, and Monash University. Dr Thomas continues to appear with local ensembles including the Grainger Wind Symphony, Dizzy's Big Band, Esstee Big Band, Kew Brass Band, CLOC Theatre Company Orchestra, and the University of Melbourne Trombone Choir.
Dr Thomas and his wife live and work in Melbourne.