About the artist
Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, Joshua Thompson began taking piano lessons at the age of 5. Showing early signs of promise and interest in classical music, Joshua continued his musical studies and at the age of 10, added the study of classical trumpet to his musical education regularly performing with the New World Youth Symphony Orchestra from 1996-2000 and with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s “Side-by Side” program. From 2000-2004, Joshua attended DePauw University in Greencastle, IN originally as a trumpet performance major before earning his B.A. in Sociology. After completing his undergraduate studies Joshua continued to play both trumpet and piano privately but switched his career path to focus on the social needs of the Indianapolis community. Joshua would later go on to become program director for the Damien Center—Indiana’s largest AIDS service organization.
He has worked with Dr. Marlon Bailey of Indiana University and presented HIV/AIDS research focused on culturally sensitive risk reduction practices for the state of Indiana at the 2009 National AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. In 2010, Joshua combined his passion for advocacy and music education by working closely with cultural arts organizations such as the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the Indiana Arts Commission, Music for All, Classical Music Indy and Indy Jazz Fest with a focus on making educational resources accessible and abundant throughout the city of Indianapolis. Since his return to public piano performance, Thompson has made it his mission to exclusively program and perform the classical masterworks by composers of African descent. Joshua has worked with legendary bassist John Clayton, Whoopi Goldberg and world renowned operatic soprano Angela Brown.
In January 2018, Thompson debuted his first artistic production, “Village Voices: Notes from the Griot”—an original production that highlights the unsung and underperformed masterworks from artists of African descent. Making its world premiere at Newfields in Indianapolis, Thompson’s production continues to be performed on local stages and in classrooms throughout the Indianapolis metro area. Thompson is the 2019 Performer in Residence for Eskenazi Health’s Marianne Tobias Music Program in addition to being named one of the 2019 featured artists for the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ “Art and Soul Celebration”-an annual program in its 23rd year highlighting rising and emerging artists in the African American community. He is also the recipient of the 2020 Robert D. Beckmann Jr, Emerging Artist Fellowship where he will be traveling to Boston, MA to study and perform with Dr. Bill Banfield; director of the Africana Studies department at the Berklee School of Music. In October of 2019, Joshua was a featured speaker and performer for the popular TED Talk Series here in Indianapolis.
Mr. Thompson sits on the Board of Directors for Arts for Lawrence and consults with local artists to ensure their artistic projects are financially supported by arts and culture organizations in the Indianapolis area. Joshua joined Arts for Learning’s roster of teaching artists in March 2020.