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December, 19, 2019
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM


Skyline Ballroom W375E




Joshua Thompson and Thomas Turpin

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

The Westwood Symphony Orchestra is the premier performing ensemble from Westwood High School. Comprised of the students in the top orchestra and band from Westwood, the Symphony Orchestra maintains a tradition of excellence that includes being named the TMEA Honor Orchestra for the state of Texas three times and a second invitation to perform at the Midwest Clinic in 2019. The spirit of collaboration between the orchestra and band programs is a long tradition at Westwood, as the school currently takes three full Symphony Orchestras to UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Evaluation every spring, and each ensemble is co-conducted by both an orchestra director and a band director. The Westwood Orchestra program has an enrollment of 224 students separated into 5 different performing orchestras, the largest in the history of this storied program. All five orchestras perform annually at UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Evaluation as a string orchestra, and the top three orchestras also perform annually as a full orchestra. The program has only had three head directors in its 39 years of existence; Jerome Brillhart and Susan Williams are the former directors that began this great tradition of excellence. The orchestra students often place the most students into the All-Region Orchestra, and are amongst the top programs in the state each year in regards to how many students are placed into the Texas All-State Orchestra.

Westwood High School Symphony Orchestra

Conductor's Bio

Joshua Thompson has been the Orchestra Director at Westwood High School since 2017. During his three years leading this storied program the orchestra program has grown to five performing orchestras and the Symphony Orchestra has been invited to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in 2019. Previously, Joshua was the Orchestra Director at Shepton High School, in Plano, Texas. In his 15 years at Shepton, he grew the orchestra program from 79 students in 2 performing groups to 172 students in 5 performing orchestras. In 2011, the Foundation of Music Education named the Shepton Chamber Orchestra one of three National Winners in the Mark of Excellence – National Orchestra Honors Competition, despite Shepton High School being a campus of only 9th and 10th graders. He previously taught at Haggard Middle School in Plano, and South Cobb High School, in Austell, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Joshua holds a Master of Music degree in Music Performance in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Kentucky (Lexington) and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Kentucky, he conducted all of the university bands, the Symphony Orchestra, and various chamber ensembles. As an undergraduate conductor, Joshua became co-director of the Dana Brass Ensemble, founded a studio orchestra devoted to the performance of film music, and guest conducted both university concert bands and the Youngstown Youth Symphony Orchestra. His final conducting appearance at Youngstown State was a highly successful, full production of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. A lifelong learner, he has recently attended several conducting workshops around the world, including the International Conducting Workshop and Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, working with Larry Rachleff and Donald Schleicher. As a trumpeter, Joshua was chosen to perform as part of a solo clinic at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Richmond, Virginia, where he performed the Sonata for Trumpet and Piano by Peter Maxwell Davies with pianist Rebecca Wilt. He was a semi-finalist at the National Trumpet Competition’s Masters Division in 1998, and was chosen as an alternate for the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida after completing graduate school. As an undergraduate, he won the Dana School of Music Concerto Competition and was the winner of the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Solo Competition in 1996. Originally from Steubenville, Ohio, Joshua first took up trumpet studies with his grandfather, a successful high school band director who attended the Midwest Clinic annually during his career. He remains an active freelance trumpeter, and is in high demand as a performer, adjudicator, and clinician. In his free time, Joshua is a former competitive distance runner, racing distances from 5 kilometers to 50 miles. In 2015, he represented the City of Dallas as a citizen ambassador to Sendai, Japan, taking part in the Sendai International Half Marathon.