Kevin Thomson Obituary

Written By: Ross Learmonth Comments: 0

January 2015 saw the passing of one of Britain's truly outstanding trombonists. Kevin Thomson was a legend amongst the musical world of Scotland, known and respected my all. Kevin came from a Salvation Army background, so it was only natural that he and his two brothers should play brass instruments, Kevin the trombone and his brothers, cornet and euphonium. He showed exceptional ability from the earliest days and gained his first position with the then Scottish National Orchestra in 1953. Kevin found this to be an inspiring period, largely due to the influence of first trombone Alfred Flazinsky who made a life long impression on him, setting the foundation of Kevin's playing philosophy.... only the best is good enough, every note, every day.

Kevin moved to the BBC Scottish Symphony in 1960, returning to the SNO as principal some years later. During his tenure in each orchestra he was featured as a concerto soloist at a time when such things simply did not happen.... a mark of his exceptional ability. In the late 70's the lure of recording work and chamber music proved too strong and he settled into a period of commercial recording at STV and playing principal with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Kevin had opportunities to move south, but always decided to stay in Scotland and enjoy work and play in equal measure. A keen caravaner, he relished the chance to head for the hills, and in the summer, enjoy longer trips to France and other European destinations. He always took the 'van' on tour and looked forward to a steak supper with wine before whatever musical fare followed. In the late '80's he accepted an offer from Scottish Opera to join it's orchestra and spent over a decade in the orchestra pit. He often remarked that it was the longest time he had stayed with a single orchestra and I think he enjoyed the change of repertoire and happy atmosphere in the theatrical underworld. He was professor of trombone at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) for many years, tutoring students who went on to populate the profession both in the UK and abroad. Every single day I worked with Kevin, from the first occasion in 1980 to the last in 1996, he was a living example of how to play the trombone in a professional manner. Quite simply, impeccable in every respect, he gave those who worked with him a standard to aspire to.

Rest in peace my friend.

Chris Stearn

Share this article