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DSO Principal Trombone Kenneth Thompkins releases solo recording; album release concert scheduled for January 9 in The Cube

Titled Sonatas, Songs, and Spirituals, album is available digitally and on CD

Detroit, (January 3, 2018) – Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) Principal Trombone Kenneth Thompkins has released his debut solo recording, an album titled Sonatas, Songs, and Spirituals. The recording, a collaboration with pianist Zhihua Tang, is a diverse collection of music that demonstrates the lyric qualities of the trombone in different settings. It includes music written by William Grant Still, Barney Childs, Stephen Andrew Taylor, and others, as well as trombone-forward arrangements of spirituals. See below for a full track list.

An album release party and concert is scheduled for Tuesday, January 9 at 7 p.m. at The Cube, within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. The event will feature live performances of selections from the album, with special guests Zhihua Tang (piano) and Nicole Joseph (soprano), as well as a Q&A with Thompkins led by WRCJ-FM’s Chris Felcyn. See below for more details, including ticket information.

Sonatas, Songs, and Spirituals is available on CD at kenneththompkins.com, via CD Baby, or at Shop @ The Max at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. The recording is also available as a digital download or stream from Amazon/Amazon Music, CD Baby, iTunes, and Apple Music.

About Kenneth Thompkins

Kenneth Thompkins was appointed Principal Trombone of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra by Music Director Emeritus Neeme Järvi. Prior to this appointment, he held positions in the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Florida Orchestra and performed with the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. A former participant in the Detroit Symphony’s African American Fellowship Program, he has been a mentor to several Orchestra Fellows over the years.

Thompkins has been invited to perform and conduct master classes at many music schools, including the Curtis Institute of Music, Mannes College, the University of Michigan, and Interlochen Arts Academy. An active chamber musician, Thompkins performs frequently in recital and is a member of Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings. Thompkins has performed concertos with both the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and New World Symphony.

Thompkins has toured Europe with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and has also performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He can be heard on recordings by Detroit Chamber Winds, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He has also contributed a chapter to The Brass Player’s Cookbook: Creative Recipes for a Successful Performance.

A native of Severna Park, MD, Thompkins received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and Master of Music degree from Temple University. His principal teachers include Frank Crisafulli and Eric Carlson. Kenneth Thompkins is an S.E. Shires Trombone artist.

About Sonatas, Songs, and Spirituals

Sonatas, Songs, and Spirituals

Kenneth Thompkins, trombone

Zhihua Tang, piano

Released November 14, 2017

Learn more at kenneththompkins.com. Available at CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes, Apple Music, and at Shop @ The Max.

1. Piece Concertante (Carlos Salzedo)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

 2. Sonata for Alto Trombone and Piano: I. Clamor (Philip Wharton)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

3. Sonata for Alto Trombone and Piano: II. Evensong (Philip Wharton)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

4. Sonata for Alto Trombone and Piano: III. Prank (Philip Wharton)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

5. Sonata for Alto Trombone and Piano: IV. Friday Night (Philip Wharton)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

6. Sonata for Solo Trombone: I. Recitative (Barney Childs)

Kenneth Thompkins

7. Sonata for Solo Trombone: II. Double (Barney Childs)

Kenneth Thompkins

8. Sonata for Solo Trombone: III. Rondo (Barney Childs)

Kenneth Thompkins

9. Songs of Separation: Idolatry (William Grant Still)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

10. Songs of Separation: Poeme (William Grant Still)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

11. Songs of Separation: Parted (William Grant Still)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

12. Songs of Separation: A Black Pierrot (William Grant Still)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

13. How Great Thou Art (Spiritual, arr. Kris Johnson)

Kenneth Thompkins, Velda Kelly, Laura Roelofs, Romona Merritt, and Nadine Deleury

14. Every Time I Feel the Spirit (Spiritual, arr. Kris Johnson)

Kenneth Thompkins, Velda Kelly, Laura Roelofs, Romona Merritt, and Nadine Deleury

15. Sweet Sweet Spirit (Spiritual, arr. Kris Johnson)

Kenneth Thompkins, Velda Kelly, Laura Roelofs, Romona Merritt, and Nadine Deleury

16. Precious Lord Take My Hand (Spiritual, arr. Kris Johnson)

Kenneth Thompkins, Velda Kelly, Laura Roelofs, Romona Merritt, and Nadine Deleury

17. Sonata for Trombone and Piano: I. Moderato (Alec Wilder)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

18. Sonata for Trombone and Piano: II. Andante cantabile (Alec Wilder)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

19. Sonata for Trombone and Piano: III. Allegro giusto (Alec Wilder)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

20. Sonata for Trombone and Piano: IV. Allegro comodo (Alec Wilder)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

21. Sonata for Trombone and Piano: V. Grandioso (Alec Wilder)

Kenneth Thompkins and Zhihua Tang

22. Ocean of Air for Trombone and Electronics (Stephen A. Taylor)

Kenneth Thompkins and Stephen A. Taylor

About the Event

Kenneth Thompkins: Sonatas, Songs, and Spirituals Release Party

Tuesday, January 9, 2018, at 7 p.m.

At the Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube

Celebrate the release of DSO Principal Trombone Kenneth Thompkins’s new album Sonatas, Songs, and Spirituals. The evening will feature a diverse collection of music featuring the lyric qualities of the trombone with a live performance by Thompkins and special guests, plus a Q&A on the making of his solo debut album.

Ticket information:

$9 – General Admission

  Includes GA seating. No CD.

$25 – General Admission Plus

  Includes GA seating and a CD copy of the album.

$49 – VIP Experience

  Includes reserved section premium seating, a CD copy of the album, and a free drink.

Tickets are available at dso.org, by calling the Box Office at (313) 576-5111, or in person at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Avenue, Detroit).

About the DSO

Hailed by The New York Times as “cutting edge,” the internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and an ardent commitment to Detroit. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the institution. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the DSO’s 12th Music Director, endowed by the Kresge Foundation, in 2008. Acclaimed conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik serves as Principal Pops Conductor, while celebrated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the Detroit community, the DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s, and Neighborhood concerts, and collaborations with high profile artists from Steven Spielberg to Ben Folds and Lang Lang. In July 2017, the DSO embarked on its first international tour in 16 years, making its debut in China and first visit to Japan in 19 years. A commitment to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast, and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.

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For Press Inquiries, please contact:

Ben Breuninger
Public Relations Coordinator
bbreuninger@dso.org | 313.576.5196