Thomas Thompson began clarinet lessons at the age of 8 in Belzoni, Mississippi. He holds degrees from the American Conservatory of Music and Northwestern University, and studied privately with Jerome Stowell, Robert Marcellus and Clark Brody. A member of the Grant Park Symphony, Chicago, for seven years, Thompson has also toured with the Chicago Opera Ballet Orchestra and the Boston Pops Tour Orchestra.
Thompson joined the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1966 and currently is Co-Principal Clarinet. He has been featured as soloist in concertos by Carl Nielsen in Heinz Hall in 1981 and Carl Maria von Weber at Hartwood Acres in 1989.
As a chamber musician and recitalist, Thompson was a founder of the New Pittsburgh Quintet, which played throughout the United States, at the prestigious Osaka International Festival in Japan, and for the nationally televised PBS special commemorating opening of the Sarah Scaife Gallery in Pittsburgh.
Thompson has conducted the Pittsburgh Opera Theater's production of Carmen, and he also finds opportunities to guest lecture and perform. He is Associate Teaching Professor in the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University.