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Thomas Sovík

Thomas Sovík

Professor of Music Theory


Music History, Theory and Ethnomusicology

Contact Information

Office Location: 
Music Building
Office #: 

Dr. Sovík currently serves as Professor of Music Theory in the College of Music at University of North Texas, with a dual appointment as Director of Central European Studies & Exchanges.

Following seminary studies, Dr. Sovík earned degrees at Ashland University (B.A. 1974) and the Ohio State University (M.A. 1975 & Ph.D. 1985).

After holding positions at the University of Northern Iowa and with Yamaha Music International, he joined the UNT College of Music faculty in 1987 and served as the first chair of the Division of Music History, Theory, & Ethnomusicology (1990-97). He held the position of Dean of Fine & Performing Arts at Mississippi University for Women (1998-99), returning to Dallas for surgery and therapy after being run down by a drunk driver, and thereafter served two additional terms as Division Chair at UNT.

Since his return to the University of North Texas, Dr. Sovík has been promoted to the rank of Full Professor, has received UNT's coveted 'fessor Graham award for his "Outstanding Teaching & Dedication to Students," and has been recognized as an "Outstanding Teacher of the Honors College."

Research: Dr. Sovík has authored numerous translations, articles, and papers on such disparate topics as university administration and management, the history of music theory, American popular music, technology applied to distance learning, traditional Japanese medicine, and military history and ethics. He is a regular participant at international conferences and colloquia with over 100 academic presentations in the United States, Canada, Guatemala, and the Czech Republic, and has presented keynote addresses at such gatherings as the Millennial Conference of Unitas Fratrum Scholars, the Southeast Conference of the College Music Society, and the UNT New Student Convocation. In recognition of his international reputation, in 2013 he was asked to sit as a member of the review board of the Czech Science Foundation.

Dr. Sovík's primary research field is the "History of Music Theory in Central Europe during the Medieval and Renaissance Eras." His on-going "30-year project" is the translation and commentary on Glaucidius of Moravia's The Arts of WarPeace, Leadership, and Governance, with Practical Instructions on How to Live Well and to be Loved Even by the Most Vile and Putrid of Your Enemies (c. 1558). A preliminary study of Dr. Sovík's work was published in Kosmas: Czechoslovak and Central European Journal.

Teaching: Dr. Sovík's secondary research field is "Popular Music in American Culture," with enrollment in his popular music classes typically exceeding 1,700 students during the course of any academic year. These classes are delivered in both the traditional and large-lecture classroom settings, as internet classes, and in both podcast and videocast formats; in 2010 the course was purchased by McGraw-Hill Education for international distribution. Following "Women in Rock" in Women and Music in America Since 1900: An Encyclopedia (Oryx Press), his most recent publication in the field has been Popular Music in Our American Culture: Rethinking Music through the Ears of Music, Volume I (McGraw-Hill).

As one of the institution's most dynamic personalities, Dr. Sovík directs and serves as emcee for the university's "Halloween Shake-&-Bake" and "The Mean Green Talent Show" – both produced by students enrolled in his popular music classes and open to all students of the university as well as to the entire DFW community.

Service to the University and to the Community: In 1990 Dr. Sovík founded the on-going student-exchange program between the University of North Texas, the Janáček Academy of Music & the Performing Arts, Masaryk University, and the Brno Technical College (all of Brno, Czech Republic), and since that time has served as the Director of Central European Studies & Exchanges.

As tour director and organist, Dr. Sovík led 34 visits to the Czech Republic; these visits provided the opportunity for 1,428 faculty and students to offer 162 academic presentations and 117 concerts. These tour operations – taking groups to the Czech Republic, Austria, and the Netherlands – have since developed into an independent Texas LLC; tours are offered in March and May and are open to the general public. Dr. Sovík's short-term visitors from the Czech Republic have included composers Jindřich Feld, Ivo Medek, and Arnošt Parsch, flautist Arnošt Bourek, and the Children's Renaissance Collegium of the Pavel Křižkovský School for the Performing Arts.

In Spring 2004 Dr. Sovík coordinated a Texas-wide tour of the Czech historical dance company Mimi fortunae, made possible through a grant provided by the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas; subsequently, this organization established a substantial endowment to support a "CEFT Residency in Czech Music and Culture" at the University of North Texas.

The first fruit of that endowment was the November 2006 residency of the Wallinger Quartet (Czech Republic); subsequently, the Petr Mička cimbalom orchestra toured the state of Texas with Dr. Sovík in October 2007; the University of North Texas was pleased to welcome Czech pianist Radoslav Kvapil as our resident artist in 2008; in 2010 the College of Music produced Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride with performances both on campus as well as across the State of Texas; in 2011 the College of Music hosted a Texas-tour of Czech children's artist Pavel Čech; in 2012, Dr. Sovík coordinated the Texas-wide tour of the Czech brass band Stříbrňanka; in 2013, Dr. Sovík coordinated the Texas-wide tour of the Czech brass band Moravská Jedenáctka.

Using funds provided by the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas, in February 2013 Dr. Sovík coordinated a two-continent music festival and academic conference devoted to Czech composer Leoš Janáček that was co-hosted by the UNT College of Music and the Janáček Academy for Music & the Performing Arts (Brno, Czech Republic).

Plans for a second international festival, in late 2015 – Veselé Vánoce! (A Czech Christmas at the University of North Texas) – are well underway; the theme of the accompanying academic conference will be "From the Hussite Wars to the Moravian Lovefeast: How the Czech Nation Lost and Regained Its Musical Identity."

In recognition of his efforts to promote Czech and Texas-Czech culture during his 26 years as member of the UNT faculty, Dr. Sovík was awarded the Jan Amos Comenius Lifetime Achievement Award at a gala of music, dinner, and dance that was held in his honor at the Czech Center Museum of Houston.