A native of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Russell Thompson joined the Arkansas Symphony as Principal Double Bass in 2023. Thompson is the principal bassist of the McKinney Philharmonic and also performs regularly with the Amarillo Symphony and Texarkana Symphony. In addition to managing a private teaching studio, Thompson is the Professor of Double Bass at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. He has given masterclasses at West Texas A&M University. He worked one summer as a counselor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan, as well as three years as a staff member at Peabody Bass Works in Baltimore.
As a soloist and chamber musician, Thompson has performed on multiple continents. His group won the Yale Chamber Music Competition in 2019 with a performance of Edgar Varese’s Octandre. He has also performed as a soloist in such varied locations as Houston (TX), Cleveland (OH), Floyd (VA), Chestertown (MD), Cleveland (OH), and Graz (Austria).
Thompson earned his BA in Music Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He then went on to earn a Masters in Performance from Boston University and a Master of Musical Arts from Yale University before beginning his doctoral studies in Bass and Cello Pedagogy at the University of North Texas. His primary teachers include Tracy Rowell, Maximilian Dimoff, Edwin Barker, Don Palma, and Jeff Bradetich.
Summer festivals have played a key role in Thompson’s musical education. Participating in the first two seasons of the National Music Festival was a formative musical experience that led to his decision to study music professionally. Thompson also attended the National Repertory Orchestra as well as Texas Music Festival. In 2023, he participated in the Artosphere Festival Orchestra. He also spent multiple summers with the American Institute for Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria.
Away from the bass, Thompson’s other interests include poker, golf, Mithridatism, and hiking. He is also an avid reader and a fan of ancient history. He plays a bass made by Oregon Luthier Seth Kimmel and a bow by the Swiss maker Pierre Yves Fuchs.