Thomas, 17, has studied the accordion seven years under the tutelage of Ilmas Kuljus of Arizona. Kuljus commutes once or twice each winter to Spokane to continue Thomas’ instruction and Thomas travels each spring to Arizona for several weeks of intensive study.
Classically trained, Sammy has focused his energies on competition, most recently the ATG competitions in Dallas and the AAA nationals in Dearborn and has won many titles coast-to-coast. He presents in his performances a wide variety of musical styles, from classical to pop, old-time to jazz, bringing to the fore the versatility of his chosen instrument. His uncanny ability to switch styles, seemingly effortlessly, makes for an exciting performance
Thomas will be a senior in high school this fall and is also entering a two-year preparatory conservatory certifications program to study theory, ear training, improvisation and music business.
Sammy has produced three CDs: Three Years, Vols. I & II (at age 13); Just My Accordion Talkin (age 15) and is currently working on a new one, Concert Fantasy. Like his live performances, Sammy’s recordings showcase his mastery of many different musical styles.
Sammy is an enthusiastic performer. He has gained a reputation among accordion enthusiasts as a cutting-edge player by fusing the high level of technical skill that comes from classical training with a new and imaginative high-energy twist that comes from being a 21st-century teen-ager while respectfully keeping alive the music that has been hummed, danced to, and loved for generations.