After studies at the Royal Academy of Music, he was appointed Principal Horn with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the age of eighteen. Within three years he was offered the principal horn positions of both the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. He joined the Philharmonia and remained in that post for ten years before leaving to concentrate on his solo and chamber music career. His work as director/soloist or conductor has seen him perform in Japan, Australia, the USA, Europe and Scandinavia, including his debut with the Danish Radio Sinfonietta in Copenhagen, the ÖstgÖta Winds Symphony in Sweden, and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. In the UK he has directed the London Sinfonietta, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Britten Pears Orchestra, Ulster Youth Orchestra, and the Royal Academy's Sinfonia and Concert orchestras. He has conducted a number of community orchestras and was Principal Conductor of the City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra from 2003 until 2008. His concert schedule takes him worldwide and his discography includes the major solo horn repertoire, period instrument recordings, and a number of critically acclaimed CDs with his wind quintet and horn quartet. As a member of the London Sinfonietta he is at the forefront of new music and has given many first performances, including the UK premieres of Ligeti's Hamburg Concerto and Richard Ayres's Noncerto. In addition to his classical work, he is very active as a studio musician, playing on soundtracks such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and the Bond film. His work for Sir Paul McCartney resulted in the composition of Stately Horn, which the Michael Thompson Horn Quartet premiered in the Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall. Michael Thompson is a Fellow and Aubrey Brain Professor of Horn at the Royal Academy of Music and gives regular masterclasses and lectures throughout the world. He plays an instrument made by Paxman of London.