Book Reviews and Comments

“Whether you are a percussionist, non-percussionist, or non-musician, this is an excellent read.  Full of remarkable personal experiences, this memoir is sure to keep your attention.   Seasoned percussionists will appreciate the references to teachers, mentors, conductors, composers, specific works, and the ‘in the crosshairs’ nature of being a percussionist in a symphony orchestra.   I think we can all appreciate this contribution, which offers an entertaining learning experience that is sure to be enjoyed.”
~ Percussive Notes (T. Adam Blackstock)

“Akins is a born storyteller with the timing of a comedian.  The description of his first appearance at Carnegie Hall is the finest I’ve read about playing that hallowed venue.  It’s a worthy book to read.” 
~ NUVO (Rita Kohn)

“It is an eye-opener.  If you have wondered how things happen in the orchestral world, this will help you to understand.  He says a timpanist cannot be a mere percussionist but must have a ‘confidence just short of cockiness’ and real leadership gifts to do the job well. . . I believe that.   It is amusing and informative.  It’s certainly easy reading.” 
~ American Record Guide (Donald Vroon)

“. . . gives the reader an insightful and informative view of life in the world of a symphonic performer.  A well told tale to be enjoyed by both classical musicians and their listeners, written with good humor and sensitivity.”
~ Stanley Leonard, former Principal Timpanist, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

“Thanks for your wonderful memoirs.  It’s so important to document our experiences.  Otherwise when we go, so do they, and they are lost forever.”
~ Rodney Newton, Timpanist, BBC Orchestra

“No matter where one turns, there is a fascinating anecdote or bit of history.” 
~ William Kraft, composer, former Principal Timpanist, Los Angeles Philharmonic

“The book was a joy to read.  Thanks for this beautiful memoir that the handful of us find truly identifiable.” 
~ Ron Holdman, Principal Timpanist, Houston Symphony Orchestra

“One of the things that I found most interesting in your book is when you are writing about the timpani leadership role.  The balance between leading and following.  Being the ‘second conductor’ in a musical tasteful way.  Thanks for sharing from all your experiences.” 
~ Lars Fhager, Timpanist, Swedish Chamber Orchestra

“Tom Akins has produced an inspiring account of his journey as student to professional and all the pressures and opportunities that come with it.  I so enjoyed this book.”
~ Dean Borghesani, Principal Timpanist, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

“I just finished it an hour ago.  I could not put it down.  Your book had a great impact on me and helped me learn more about some interests I had along the way.”
~ Matthew Bronson, graduate student