Eric Hopkins plays the dual role of percussionist and associate principal timpanist in the symphony. His passion lies in both roles equally. For Eric, percussion is about negotiating the wide array of acoustic possibility, overcoming and embracing the challenges of each unique instrument. On timpani, the large copper kettle drums, Eric strives to maximize the sound color palette to vivify the emotional content of the music.
For both crafts, Eric finds himself pleasantly busy collecting and experimenting with instruments, sticks, and mallets. Some of these implements make it on stage at Abravanel Hall. A few of his timpani sticks started as wild bamboo from his mother’s back yard in Florida, with a toy car wheel attached at the top, covered with a layer of green felt from a billiard supplier sewed on using dental floss and a needle. Eric is constantly on the lookout for new percussion gear and admits to compulsively buying old tambourines and triangles on Ebay.
Eric won first place in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 2012 Modern Snare Drum Competition and first place in the Young Artist Competition at Alliance for the Arts in Southwest Florida. He is the recipient of the Big Arts Classical Music Award, New Leaf Arts Scholarship, David G. Robinson Performing Arts Scholarship, Tallahassee Music Guild Award, and the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Scholarship. While at Florida State University, Eric was awarded the prestigious Theodore Presser Award. He can be heard as a vibraphone soloist on the CD, FSU Percussion Ensemble Vol. 1.
At the time of his appointment in 2013 at the age of 24, he was the youngest member of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. Eric earned his Master of Music degree in 2013 from the Manhattan School of Music, where he also served as a teacher in the Pre-college division. He studied in the Orchestral Program with the life-changing faculty of Chris Lamb, Duncan Patton, and She-e Wu. Eric is currently a percussion professor at Utah Valley University.