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Chris Thompson

Associate Professor of Music
Maddox Center




Degrees earned:
B.M. - University of Kansas
M.A. - University of Missouri-Kansas City
Ph.D. - University of Wisconsin

Teaching at Williams since 1998

Areas of scholarship or expertise:
19th-century German composers (especially Brahms and Schumann), music theory and aural skills pedagogy, piano literature and piano pedagogy

Hobbies & outside interests:
Reading, walking, and listening to music (classical, jazz, and American popular songs from the 1920s to 1950s)

Favorite book:
I love to read, so it would be hard to pick a single favorite.  A recent fascinating read was "My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers in Music" by Leon Fleisher.

Why I chose music as my college major:
I credit my parents for encouraging me to pursue my musical interests.  My mother is a long-time piano teacher--and a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music--in the Kansas City area.  My father is a retired lawyer and trust officer who, as he puts it, had either a great love or a very high tolerance for classical music.  Mom and Dad have been my biggest cheerleaders!

Hardest class I took in college:
I spent roughly two years in an M.B.A. program at UMKC, and a finance class I took nearly did me in.  God used that humbling experience to draw me back into music.  Today I can't imagine doing anything I enjoy more, any place else but Williams!

Most enjoyable class I took in college:
Art appreciation at KU was wonderful!  The class met in the on-campus Spencer Museum of Art and was taught by a fine teacher who went on to become a curator and head of the 20th-century art department at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Professional & community organizations & involvement:
Arkansas State Music Teachers Association - state coordinator of annual Composition Competition, state auditions co-chair (with Dr. J.D. Kelly, ASU professor emeritus)
College Music Society, South Central chapter - president (2009-11), immediate past president (2011-13)
Delta Music Teachers Association - vice president
Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Fraternity - faculty advisor of Zeta Alpha chapter
Schubert Music Club of Walnut Ridge (affiliated with National Federation of Music Clubs) - president
First Baptist Church of Walnut Ridge - member and deacon

Why I enjoy teaching at Williams:
Because the people here--students, faculty and staff--make it a wonderful place to be!  It's the caring and committed people that make Williams the very special place that it is.