Philip Thomson

Philip (Gordon) Thomson. Pianist, b Saint John, NB, 11 Nov 1952; B MUS (Toronto) 1974. Thomson studied 1970-4 at the University of Toronto with Pierre Souvairan, 1974-5 in England, performed mainly in Toronto ca 1975-7, then did graduate work in piano 1977-9 with Abbey Simon at the Julliard School.

Thomson, Philip

Philip (Gordon) Thomson. Pianist, b Saint John, NB, 11 Nov 1952; B MUS (Toronto) 1974. Thomson studied 1970-4 at the University of Toronto with Pierre Souvairan, 1974-5 in England, performed mainly in Toronto ca 1975-7, then did graduate work in piano 1977-9 with Abbey Simon at the Julliard School. In 1979 he won a competition to play Liszt's Piano Concerto in E-flat with the Juilliard Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall. While still a student he made his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1974, playing Liszt's Hungarian Fantasy. Thomson was also a winner of the W.O. Forsyth scholarship. He was selected to open the 1985-6 season of the Toronto Symphony playing Saint-Saëns's Piano Concerto No. 4. Thomson appeared with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in 1986 and performed during the 1987-8 season with the Winnipeg, Kitchener-Waterloo, Saskatoon, and Saint John symphony orchestras. In 1989 he performed Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Chamber Players of Toronto and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Toronto Symphony.

In 1991 Thomson made the first recording of Michael Maxwell's edition of Liszt's De Profundis with the Hungarian State Orchestra under Kerry Stratton (Hungaroton CD-31525). Thomson's repertoire includes some 65 concertos from Mozart and Hummel to Shostakovich, with a decided emphasis on the late-19th century, especially Liszt. His world premiere recording of the Complete Preludes and Impromptus of Ukrainian composer Felix Blumenfeld was released in 2000 (Ivory Classics). Thomson has also contributed volumes 3, 4 and 9 to the Naxos series Liszt: Complete Piano Music.

He has toured throughout Europe and the US and has been broadcast on radio and TV across North America and in the Netherlands. His playing has been praised for its virtuosity, accuracy, brilliance, and tone quality. Thomson taught at the University of Waterloo beginning in 1989, then at the University of Akron (Ohio) from 1994.