Kenneth Thompkins

photo: Sarah Smarch

Kenneth Thompkins was appointed Principal Trombone of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra by Neeme Jarvi. Prior to this appointment, he held positions in the Buffalo Philharmonic, The Florida Orchestra, and the New World Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Thompkins enjoys working with young musicians and has performed masterclasses and recitals at many universities including the Curtis Institute of Music, University of Michigan, and the Eastman School of Music. In 2017, Thompkins recorded Sonatas, Songs and Spirituals, which features the music of Alec Wilder, William Grant Still, and Philip Wharton. Sonatas, Songs and Spirituals was the winner of The American Prize in Instrumental Performance for 2018-2019. He has performed as a soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra, and New World Symphony. He can also be heard on recordings with both the New World Symphony and the Detroit Symphony.


Compelling Portraits

Compelling Portraits

Release Date: September 8, 2023
Catalog Number: NV6552
21st Century
Vocal Music
COMPELLING PORTRAITS from lauded trombonist Kenneth Thompkins celebrates the music of contemporary Black composers. The album features five pieces, three of which are commissioned trombone chamber music works. These compositions take listeners on a journey from the contemplative to the triumphant, showcasing Thompkins’s range and sensitivity as a performer. The title track, composed by James Lee lll, is a musical ode to the paintings in Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and in particular his painting Confrontation at the Bridge (Selma, Alabama). Drawing upon the works of multiple contemporary artists, COMPELLING PORTRAITS reflects the contribution of contemporary Black composers to a rich musical legacy.