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Thompson trombone choir
Dr. J. Mark Thompson, far left, was invited to join the William F. Cramer Trombone Choir.
Thompson tours Europe with prestigious ensemble
Experience complimented study of French trombone literature
Leah Jackson

NATCHITOCHES – Dr. J. Mark Thompson, professor of music, trombone and low brass at Northwestern State University, was invited to tour Europe with the Trombone Choir of America during his summer break and perform as a member of the prestigious William F. Cramer Trombone Choir during the International Trombone Festival. The tour ran June 27-July 18 and included concerts in Germany, Belgium and France, as well as a featured performance at the Paris Conservatory during the ITF.

“This year, this international cadre of university professors and professional trombonists was led by the renowned conductor and trombonist Dr. Irvin L. Wagner, past president of the International Trombone Association,” Thompson said. “And to my surprise, one of my own arrangements, Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile, was chosen to feature retired Boston Symphony principal trombonist Ron Barron.

“A unique facet of this conference was that it took place at the Paris Conservatory, which is at the epicenter of my career’s research in French trombone literature,” said Thompson, whose study of trombone literature -- particularly French trombone literature -- has been a 36-year quest. “My dissertation was focused on this music and my book, French Music for Low Brass Instruments (Indiana University Press), has become the standard reference for this body of repertoire. While at the ITF, I was able to meet quite a few composers whose music I have known for decades.

“I am most grateful to NSU’s School of Creative and Performing Arts for helping make this trip possible through the awarding of the Clifton M. Alford Endowed Professorship. For me, this was a summer filled with career highlights, the likes of which I have not seen before.