Thomas Akins, Principal Timpanist with the Indianapolis Symphony from 1965 to 1991, has published his memoirs, Behind the Copper Fence: A Lifetime on Timpani.
His book is filled with reminisces about his many years with the Indianapolis Symphony, his training as a timpanist, including seven summers (1960-66) in the League’s Institute for Orchestral Studies with conductor Richard Lert, and his world premiere performance of William Kraft’s Concerto Number One for Timpani and Orchestra with the ISO in 1984; he later recorded it with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to playing timpani, he is also a radio sportscaster for several national networks covering games and activities of the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Big Ten sports, and others. “A little of that slips into these pages, too. ”
The League of American Orchestras’ SymphonyNOW website has a nice tribute to Mr. Akins and some excerpts from his book.
You can order his book, and read several chapters, at Mr. Akins’ website, Behind the Copper Fence.