James Thompson is currently Professor of Trumpet at the Eastman School of Music. He came to this position having played Principal Trumpet in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since September 1990. He has held corresponding positions with the Phoenix Symphony, the Orchestra of the State of Mexico, the National Symphony of Mexico, and for 14 years, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, he was raised in Phoenix, Arizona where he began trumpet studies at the age of ten. His principal teachers included Richard Longfield and Roger Voisin.
Mr. Thompson has been active both as a soloist and a teacher. He has taught trumpet and Brass Ensemble at Northern Arizona University, the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, and McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He has also performed as soloist with orchestras in North and South America as well as Europe. In 1979 he competed in the first Maurice Andre International Trumpet Competition and was a prizewinner. He has made recital tours to Australia, Asia, Europe, North and South America. He has also been a guest artist with the Summit Brass, a brass chamber ensemble made up of members from America’s finest orchestras, and Chicago’s Music of the Baroque.
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Opening Ceremonies he was seen performing a jazz/gospel trumpet solo on television more than 3 billion people. In the last few years he has performed as guest Principal Trumpet with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as Boston, Baltimore Seattle and orchestras in Italy and Germany. He has also performed as Principal Trumpet with the Orchestra Toscanini , an Italian ensemble under the direction of Loren Mazel. In the spring of 2010 Mr. Thompson was a member of the international jury for the Prague Spring Competition.
Mr. Thompson has also actively encouraged new compositions for the trumpet. In 1987 he performed the world premiere of Malcolm Forsyth’s Concerto for Trumpet, which was written for him and the Montreal Symphony. He has recorded this concerto with the Kitchener-Waterloo Orchestra for CBC Records in May 1992. In 1990 he performed the Quebec premier of Jacques Hetu’s Trumpet Concerto, and in March of 1992 he gave the world premier of the Glenn Buhr Concerto for Trumpet, also written for him and the Montreal Symphony.
Mr. Thompson can be heard on London Decca recordings with the Montreal Symphony, and Telarc’s Atlanta Symphony releases. He has also recorded on the Chandos Label in performances, which include, Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Trumpets, and the critically acclaimed Shostakovich Concerto #1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings.  In recent years he has recorded Danzante , a CD for Summit Records, of Trumpet concertos with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and American Portrait, Music for Trumpet and Piano, for the ITG. Mr. Thompson is a Yamaha Performing Artist.