Home »     Meet the Musicians »          Symphony Orchestra

Timothy Jepson, Principal Timpani

Timothy Jepson became principal timpanist of the Kansas City Symphony in August 1983. Jepson is a native of rural western Iowa and began his career as a professional timpanist at age 18. He graduated with honors from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, and studied timpani with Salvatore Rabbio, retired timpanist of the Detroit Symphony. Jepson has played percussion with the Kansas City Brass as well as timpani and percussion with the Sunflower and Western Slope music festivals. He has been an active clinician, adjudicator and marching percussion specialist and served on the faculty of Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He is an artist with the Sabian Cymbal Company. Jepson served for many years as a volunteer and elected representative for his colleagues in the Kansas City Symphony. He also represented his fellow musicians as their delegate to the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) and served as an executive board member with the Kansas City Federation of Musicians, Local 34-627. In his free time, Tim enjoys finding antique timpani for restoration and performance. He recently purchased two timpani bowls built between 1880-1910 in Rotterdam, Holland. After restoration they will be used with the Symphony performing music of the Baroque, Classical and early Romantic periods.

Ten questions about me:

What music selections would you recommend to someone who is new to classical music?

Mozart Symphonies 39, 40, and 41. Odd numbered Beethoven Symphonies, Brahms’ Symphonies 1 and 2, Handel’s “Messiah”.

What is the one item you must have on a desert island?

"Wilson"

Outside of rehearsals, tell us about your practice regimen.

During the season I’m either studying or listening to unfamiliar music to be performed, practicing and marking parts with tuning set ups and pitch changes, and/or touching up excerpts on familiar works. I have a set of 4 timpani at home for working out passages and also practice on the actual performance timpani in the storage room of the Kauffman Center. In the summers I take a few weeks off to rest muscles and tendons then start playing very softly and slowly to re-evaluate fundamentals.

Which composer would you most like to have dinner with? And what would you serve or where would you eat?

Beethoven. Barbeque...Duh!

What music selections would you recommend to someone who is new to classical music?

Mozart Symphonies 39, 40, and 41. Odd numbered Beethoven Symphonies, Brahms’ Symphonies 1 and 2, Handel’s “Messiah”.

What would you like to be known for?

Being a flawed but loving dad.

What is the best part about being a musician in the Kansas City Symphony?

The friendships and "family" that develop working so closely with such talented people.

What is on your ideal pizza?

Goat cheese, roasted red pepper, caramelized onion, fresh basil and a very expensive balsamic vinegar.

When you were young, did you enjoy practicing?

NO. In hindsight, playing drums and timpani came too easily to me. Between that and perhaps a little attention deficit, I hated to practice until I matured.

What do you consider your greatest musical accomplishment?

Auditioning and becoming a member of the Kansas City Symphony.