Shannon Thompson, clarinet
Shannon Thompson has performed as a recitalist throughout the United States, and she has served as the principal clarinetist of the Hendersonville Symphony since 2002 and bass clarinetist of the Asheville Symphony since 1999. According to reviews of Hendersonville Symphony performances, her clarinet playing has "shone" and exhibited "beautiful tonal colors and phrasing." She is a versatile performer, performing as soloist with wind ensembles, orchestras, and jazz bands; and in other musical performances such as symphony concerts, operas, and theatrical productions. Her collaborations with other musicians include compositions written for her by composers Rob Smith, Bruce Frazier, and Mario Gaetano, and numerous chamber music performances with string and wind musician colleagues. As a recitalist, her repertoire includes the standard literature along with an exciting combination of obscure, quality works and her own transcriptions of music by Rachmaninoff, Bach, and Clara Schumann. She has also performed as recitalist and concerto soloist on the bass clarinet. Her latest clarinet and piano recital program, La Clarinette de Paris, includes music she collected in Paris in 2014, and her March 2016 solo recital program on clarinet and bass clarinet features non-classical music such as blues, jazz, rock, and rap.
The 2011 winner of the James E. Dooley Award for Excellence in Teaching Music, Dr. Thompson has led the clarinet studio at Western Carolina University since 1997. She maintains a full studio of clarinet music majors, and her clarinet students hold the record at the university for most consecutive years (seven) winning concerto competitions (12 winners). As a seasoned teacher of the clarinet and bass clarinet, Shannon Thompson enjoys helping students discover their full potential as musicians by developing their own voices. This often involves freeing up body movement and building new, healthy habits of sound production and finger technique.
Shannon Thompson is currently developing a film project entitled "Chasing the Sound" that focuses on a community of clarinetists and clarinet equipment makers who strive to recreate the legendary sounds of their predecessors. She developed and implemented a collaborative presentation to band directors, "Sound Advice for Woodwinds," that generated a large, engaged audience at the 2014 North Carolina Music Educators Conference. She has performed and presented at several International Clarinet Association conferences, and her ClarinetFest 2012 Presentation "The Signature Sound of Daniel Bonade and His Students" has been used in courses at several colleges. It can be found on YouTube where it has over 5000 hits.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Dr. Thompson earned music degrees from the University of Oregon School of Music, Boston University School for the Arts, and the University of Texas School of Music. Her principal teachers were Michael Webster and Richard MacDowell.