German-American conductor and violinst (b. 11 October 1835 in Esens, East Friesland; d. 4 January 1905 in Chicago), born Theodore Christian Friedrich Thomas.
Thomas exhibited a prodigious musical talent, and at the age of seven he played the violin for the King of Hanover. In 1845 his family moved to New York, and in 1854 secured a position in the first violin section of the New York Philharmonic Society, and the following year he helped to launch a series of monthly chamber concerts in the city, which lasted for fourteen years. In 1859 he made his debut as a conductor, and formed his own orchestra in 1862. He held conducting posts in Philadelphia (1876), Brooklyn (1862–78), New York (1877–91), Cincinnati (1878–79), and Chicago (1891–1905).
Correspondence with Tchaikovsky
One letter from Tchaikovsky to Theodore Thomas has survived, dating from 1892, and has been translated into English on this website: