Michael Thomson was born in Birkenhead, England and immigrated to Canada at the age of seven. He began playing the Trombone when he was eleven years old through the local public school band program. Developing a particular interest in jazz, Michael was awarded a full tuition scholarship to begin his post secondary studies in music, ultimately graduating from McGill University with High Distinction in Trombone. Prior to graduation, Michael won the Trombone position with the Calgary based Foothills Brass Quintet. The job entailed traveling throughout Canada and the United States, performing concerts for countless school children of all ages, and the general public. After ten years of touring the continent with the Quintet, Michael won the position as Assistant Principal Trombone with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Pleased to be off the road, Michael now enjoys a more balanced lifestyle of playing in the orchestra, freelancing, and teaching. He is currently on faculty at the Mount Royal Conservatory.
Who do you think are or were the masters of your instrument?
Despite the fact that I play classical music for a living I primarily listen to jazz. Therefore, I consider Frank Rosolino, Carl Fontana, J.J. Johnson and new guy, Wycliffe Gordon to be some of the greatest players.
Tell us a little about your instrument.
I play a S.E. Shires Trombone who is an independent instrument maker out of Massachusetts. The instrument is fully interchangable which allows me to change bell sections, among other things, to accomodate the repertoire I’m performing.
Do you play in any groups/ensembles outside of the orchestra?
I freelance regularly, some of the local groups I have performed with include the Prime Time Big Band, Rosa Selvatica, Lands End, and the Bow Valley Brass Quintet.
What kinds of music do you listen to when you’re “off-duty?” What’s currently on your iPod?
How do you prepare for a concert? Any “pre-game” rituals?
I like to walk to and from work, it clears my head.
How old were you when you started playing?
I was eleven.