Daniel Thompson is a native of Knoxville, TN. He began his musical studies on the cello at the age of 11 as a student at Cedar Bluff Middle School in the Knox County, TN public school system. His first orchestra director was long time KSO cellist, Phyllis Steen. He continued playing cello through high school and studied privately with another KSO cellist, Bruce Wilhite. Daniel went on to attend the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati as a cello performance major studying with former LaSalle Quartet member, Jack Kirstein. While a cello major, Daniel studied chamber music with members of the LaSalle and Tokyo Quartets.
At age 20, Daniel began his Double Bass studies with Barry Green and later, Al Laszlo at CCM. After completing studies at CCM, Daniel moved to New York to pursue his graduate studies at the prestigious Juilliard School, earning a Masters degree under the tutelage of Eugene Levinson, Principal Bass of the New York Philharmonic. Coinciding with the completion of his graduate studies, he won a position with the KSO and Daniel joined the Core string section in 1998.
In addition to his experience in the KSO, Daniel has performed with the West Virginia Symphony as Assistant Principal and Acting Principal, the Columbus Symphony, the Richmond Symphony, the Dayton Philharmonic, and the Lexington Philharmonic. Regionally, Daniel performs with the Oak Ridge Symphony, Symphony of the Mountains, the Chattanooga Symphony, as well as freelancing in Nashville and around Knoxville.
In addition to a busy performance schedule, Daniel maintains a full private teaching schedule. In the past he has also been an Adjunct Faculty member at Tennessee Tech University and Maryville College. Daniel was also a fellowship recipient to the Aspen Music Festival where he performed in the Aspen Festival Orchestra and the Aspen Chamber Orchestra. In addition to his primary teachers, Daniel has worked with: Paul Ellison, Hal Robinson, Francois Rabbath, Bruce Bransby, Homer Mensch, and Donald Palma.
Daniel has also performed under the baton of such notable conductors as: James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas, James DePriest, Kurt Masur, Zdenek Machal, Paavo Jarvi, and David Robinson. In 2006, Daniel realized that developing future audiences depended on reaching younger audiences. He embarked on a career of working more closely with children and became a string teacher at West Valley Middle School in Knox County, TN. As Director of Orchestras, the program has grown 50% and thrives as one of the area’s strongest orchestra programs. He has received recognition as an outstanding teacher by the Governors’ School for the Arts, recognized as a Highly Effective Teacher by Knox Co., and has presented at the Tennessee Music Educators Association State Conference in Nashville. Daniel and his musician wife, Erin Bray, have three children.