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Thomas Akins

Thomas Akins


Thomas Akins was Principal Timpanist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1965 to 1991, a position that is now endowed and titled in his honor. His major teachers included Fred Begun, E.B. Wuebold, Jr. and Fred D. Hinger, and he holds degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati. He premiered William Kraft’s Timpani Concerto No. 1 in 1984 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra led by John Nelson and presented it later that same year at Washington’s Kennedy Center as part of the Friedheim Awards contest. In 1987 he performed and recorded it with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra led by Paul Polivnick. Akins has also performed timpani concerti by Robert Parris, Werner Tharichen, Karl Heinz Koper and Paul Fetler. He has premiered many works for timpani including those by Donald White, Scott Huston and James McVoy.

Akins is an active member of the Percussive Arts Society where he has appeared numerous times as a member of the Emeritus Percussion Section and serves on the Symphonic Committee. He has presented timpani and percussion clinics in many parts of the United States under the auspices of Remo, Inc., Rogers Drums and Hinger Touch-tone. In 1967 he founded the Sonic Boom percussion ensemble and later created the Chamber Brass Choir and the Indy Pops Orchestra. With the ISO, he also guest conducted pops and parks concerts, hosted the orchestra’s television talk show and was player/manager of the ISOMetrics softball team.

Thomas Akins is the author of Behind The Copper Fence: A Lifetime On Timpani, a memoir of his musical career, available at In 2005 he wrote Crescendo: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra 1930-2005, a book that was a finalist for the Best Book of Indiana 2005 in the non-fiction category. His musical works have been published by Kendor Music and Innovative Percussion, and he regularly writes for various percussion periodicals. Following his performance career, he served as Director of Public Relations and Archives for the ISO for 16 years. Away from music, he continues his second life as a sports correspondent and commentator for several national radio networks, covering many of the nation’s best known sporting events.

Pink Panther, The

Pink Panther, The

Product #: 19870
Credits: Henry Mancini / Akins
Series: Percussion Quartet



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