Dr. Timothy Thompson - Fall 2003

Tim has been the horn professor at University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) since the late 1970s. He is also a frequent solo and ensemble performer, holding memberships with the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra; the Boston Mountain Chamber Players; the Lyrique Quintette, resident woodwind quintet at UA; and the newly formed Boston Mountain Brassworks, the resident brass quintet at UA.

I spent a lunch with Tim in late spring of 2003, having more fun than interview, and learning much in the process. I first met Tim at the Midwest Horn Workshop held at Mizzou in spring of 1999. I had just accepted the horn position at UCA, and Tim struck me as a great colleague to have in the state. Friendly, informative, and professional--good adjectives to describe the times we've spent together. As we progressed through our non-interview and Japanese specials, I tried to get a bit beyond "just the facts."

Tim grew up as an "Air Force Brat," in various locations, but primarily in North Carolina. in the fifth grade, he was "a typical American kid, playing baseball." He was curious about band--thought it might be interesting. The clarinet was appealing, but the more he watched the fingers the more complicated it looked to him. He chose his first instrument as a brass--the trumpet--because it was less intimidating. In other words, it looked easier!

Tim attended Greensboro Page High School. He played trumpet through his junior year and picked up horn in ninth grade. He was making money playing trumpet in high school jazz bands, but he felt the unmistakable call of the horn on his life--it was the horn he enjoyed. The horn stuck while the trumpet didn't.

He went on to earn his bachelor's degree in horn performance from University of North Carolina. He worked as a freelance player around the state. Then he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to study with Doug Hill at the UW. He completed the M.M. in Horn Performance and also in Composition. It was at this point Tim was named to the University of Arkansas. In order to earn his doctoral degree, he took a couple of years off from the UA and continued work at UW-Madison.

Aside from his current playing, Tim has also played horn with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra; Music Festival of Arkansas; Tulsa Philharmonic; Springfield Symphony (Missouri); in Wisconsin, the Beloit-Janesville and Madison Symphonies; North Carolina Symphony; and the Greensboro and Winston-Salem Symphonies. Internationally, he as appeared with the Classical Music Festival held in Eisenstadt, Austria; and the National Orchestra of Bolivia. In the past year, his Lyrique Quintette toured through Thailand, performing and teaching in a residency. He has a vast track record of solo performances and placed as a finalist in the prestigious Heldenleben Competition for Horn. Tim also has the distinction of being the first official host of the annual Midwest Horn Workshop of the International Horn Society. He plays on a Paxman.

Tim has been married to Marcia since 1992, and they live in Bella Vista, Arkansas. Marcia has her own horn career, teaching at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri, and performing as well. They have one incredible daughter, Dhira, whom they adopted from Calcutta, India, on October 7, 2001. Tim enjoys cycling, running, and triathlons. He and his wife spent the fall of 1999 in Australia, building bicycles and competing in a solar bike race. He has also spent time learning the didgeridoo, even earning a certificate!

Some advice he would be happy to share has to do with competitions. First of all, horn players, especially students, should enter them! They are well worth the time and energy spent in the process of intimately learning the music. It is always good to have a goal, and also to be recognized for our efforts. But he cautions that we also need to acknowledge a limit to the usefulness of competitions. It is certainly true that an infinitely small number of hornists will ever make their living as soloists. Our bread and butter chiefly lies in the various ensembles: band, orchestra, quintets. Solo playing and the competition should be recognized as one of the many important aspects of being a horn player.

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