A Timpanist’s Memoirs

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.

About the author

Ann Drinan
Ann Drinan

Ann Drinan, Senior Editor, has been a member of the Hartford Symphony viola section for over 30 years. She is a former Chair of the Orchestra Committee, former member of the HSO Board, and has served on many HSO committees. She is also the Executive Director of CONCORA (CT Choral Artists), a professional chorus based in Hartford and New Britain, founded by Artistic Director Richard Coffey. Ann was a member of the Advisory Board of the Symphony Orchestra Institute (SOI), and was the HSO ROPA delegate for 14 years, serving as both Vice President and President of ROPA. In addition to playing the viola and running CONCORA, Ann is a professional writer and editor, and has worked as a consultant and technical writer for software companies in a wide variety of industries for over 3 decades. (She worked for the Yale Computer Science Department in the late 70s, and thus has been on the Internet, then called the DARPAnet, since 1977!) She is married to Algis Kaupas, a sound recordist, and lives a block from Long Island Sound in Branford CT. Together they create websites for musicians: shortbeachwebdesign.com.

Ann holds a BA in Music from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MA in International Relations from Yale University.

Read Ann Drinan's blog here. web.esm.rochester.edu/poly/author/ann-drinan

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