Chris Thompson

Percussion (he/him)

I compose music and play percussion. The influence of a childhood in California’s Silicon Valley of the 80s and 90s, as well as in the New York City contemporary music scene of the ‘00s and ‘10s led me to develop work that draws equally from electronic music, marching percussion, and contemporary classical music.

As a teenager I toured with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps as a tenor player for two seasons. This experience strongly shaped my musical worldview: ever since, I have always gravitated toward a focus on ensemble, structure, and especially clarity. Recently, through an interest in just intonation, I’ve been excited to discover how clarity can manifest not just in the world of rhythm but in the higher-frequency world of pitch as well.

I released my third solo album True Stories & Rational Numbers in October 2020. A nine-movement work sequenced as electronic music but also fully scored for four keyboardists, it represents my investigation of just intonation and the natural mathematics of rhythm and harmony, my search for a performance practice to incorporate these into live contemporary music, and my personal fan-fiction about Hermann and Anna von Helmholtz. True Stories received its world premiere live performance at the Barbican Centre, London in November 2021.

Apart from work with Alarm Will Sound, I’ve been playing contemporary music in NYC for the past 20 years. I was a long-time member of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, founding member of the Line C3 Percussion Group, toured internationally as a performer with Tyondai Braxton’s HIVE, and am a frequent performer in the pits of many NYC Broadway show productions including The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked.

My first two records, the LP Everything Imaginable Comes True (2019) and EP Lot Hero (2017), draw heavily on the high-energy sound world of modern drum & bugle corps while incorporating luminaries of the New York City contemporary classical music scene in both familiar and unexpected capacities.

I’ve been member of Alarm Will Sound for the past 15 years, which has given me the opportunity to work both as a performing percussionist and arranger on a wide variety of projects.