Meet Tom Akins

About The Author

Thomas Akins was principal timpanist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1965-1991, a position that is now endowed and titled in his name. He performed the world premiere of William Kraft’s Concerto Number One for Timpani and Orchestra with the ISO in 1984 and later recorded it with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Following his performance career with the ISO, Akins served for 16 years as Director of Public Relations and Archives. Along the way he also appeared as a guest conductor, television talk show host and player/manager of the orchestra’s softball team. In addition to the Kraft, Akins was concerto soloist in works by Werner Tharichen, Karl Heinz Koper and Paul Fetler.

Timpanist Tom Akins on-stage with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

He has premiered works by Donald White, Scott Huston and James McVoy, given timpani and percussion clinics for Remo®, Hinger Touch-tone® and Rogers Drums® and many of his students have excelled in percussion throughout the nation. He founded the Sonic Boom Percussion Ensemble in 1967 and conducted his brass and percussion group, Carmel Brass. His compositions are published by Kendor and Innovative Percussion, and he was a finalist for the Best Book of Indiana 2005 award in the non-fiction category for the book entitled Crescendo: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, 1930-2005.

Thomas Akins is active as a radio sports correspondent for several national networks covering games and activities of the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Big Ten football and basketball, Indy 500, NCAA Final Fours and Olympic trials. He was part of the broadcasting staff of the Indianapolis Indians baseball team for 21 seasons. Akins co-hosts a local arts radio program and serves on the announcing staff for marching and concert events sponsored by Music For All.

Akins earned performance degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati. His major timpani teachers included Fred Begun, Edward Wuebold and Fred D. Hinger. Honored as a “Distinguished Hoosier” by Governor Mitch Daniels, Thomas Akins has received significant recognition for his leadership and volunteerism in his church, his professions and his community. He is the father of two wonderful sons and the grandfather of two extraordinary grandchildren.