John Charles Thomas

Acting Principal

HSO Assistant Principal Trumpet since 2017, John Charles Thomas has performed in the premieres of works in both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and appeared in Europe, Asia, Canada, Latin America and the U.S. as soloist and chamber musician. He has played under many of the great conductors, including Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alan Gilbert and Mstislav Rostropovich. In addition to his position with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, John is principal trumpet with the Waterbury Symphony. Prior to joining the HSO, he was principal trumpet of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, and the Queens Symphony (NYC).

John has performed frequently with the New York Philharmonic, Hartford Stage, and various Broadway shows. John has appeared with L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande at the United Nations, the American Symphony, Solisti New York, Trier Bach Soloists (Germany), Vienna Symphony, Bermuda Philharmonic,  New Hampshire Music Festival, San Jose and San Francisco Symphonies.

For over 20 years John was a member of the Grammy Award winning Chestnut Brass Company, and performed on several state department sponsored tours to Honduras and El Salvador. As a soloist, his appearances have included performances of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 2”, Copland’s “Quiet City”, and concertos by Haydn, Hummel, Shostakovich, Tomasi, Bennett, and Arutunian.

While living and studying in Vienna, John was presented in several solo recitals on a concert series at Vienna’s historic Karlskirche. Subsequently he joined the New York Harlem Opera Orchestra, and toured throughout Germany, Italy, France and Spain in Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”.

He has performed on many classical, chamber, contemporary and pop music recordings. He has recorded with the New York Philharmonic, on their recordings of Mahler’s Second and Sixth Symphonies under Lorin Maazel, and several works of Handel, Bach and Buxtehude (on the historical “baroque” trumpet) including “Messiah” and “B-Minor Mass”. Hailed for his clear and rich trumpet sound, John was the trumpet soloist on Bill Moyers & Joseph Campbell’s series, The Power of Myth, and can been heard on several film soundtracks including S.W.A.T., Sphere, Final Fantasy, Highway, and Titus. Additionally he has performed with La Monte Young’s Second Dream Ensemble, and recorded with the New York Tibetan Singing Bowl Ensemble on shofar and didjeridu.

Dr. Thomas teaches trumpet and jazz studies at the Hartt School. Previously he was the Artist/Teacher of Classical Trumpet at the University of Rhode Island, brass instructor at Bard College from 2000-2019, visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Ithaca College, and at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and has been a juror at the prestigious Cheju International Brass Competition in South Korea.