Music Résumé

(NB: References are available on request)


B.A. Music & B.A. English Literature, Grinnell College in Iowa, 1979

Classical-piano study with Alexander Tutunov at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, 2010-13

M.Phil. Greek, University of St. Andrews, Scotland (degree thesis: A Commentary on Xenophon’s Apology), 2000

M.A. German Literature, Middlebury College (at Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz), 1993

M.A. Greek Literature (with minors in ancient studies and archaeology), University of Missouri at Columbia, 1989

M.A. Latin Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana, 1984


– Independent piano teacher at Piano Studios & Showcase in Medford, Oregon (2010-18 and from 2019): responsible for giving beginning and intermediate-level instruction to students of all ages, and jazz lessons to students at the intermediate and advanced levels

– Piano teacher at the Music Studios of Jan Erickson in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1995-96, 1999-2000, and 2002-09): this work involved close collaborations with the jazz pianists at Eden Prairie High School

– Independent piano teacher: lessons given at the Twin Cities German Immersion School in St. Paul, at students’ houses, at Eden Prairie High School, and at home (2007-08)


– Regular jazz performance venues throughout the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon; venues in the Twin Cities have included the Dakota, Rossi’s, the Fine Line, the Downtowner, and the Minnesota History Center, among many others
– Brahms’ Intermezzo in A Major (May ’04)
– Brahms’ Rhapsody No. 2 in G Minor (May ’05)
– Copland’s El Salón Mexico (Bernstein’s transcription) (May ’06)
– Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (May ’07)
– Beethoven’s Sonata in D Major (“Pastorale”) (May ’08)
– Gordon Jacobs’ Four Pieces for Harmonica and Piano (May ’09)
– Ives’ Concord Sonata (“Alcotts”) & Khachaturian’s Toccata (March ’10)
– Bach’s Fugue in C Major (May ‘11)
– Haydn’s Sonata in E Minor (Hob. XVI.34) (May ’12)
– Rachmaninov’s Prelude in Eb Major (op. 23, no. 6) & Ives’ Concord Sonata (“Alcotts”) (May ’13)
– Preludes 7 & 8 from Shostakovich’s Preludes and Fugues (op. 87) (May ’14)
– Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major (op. 90) (second movement) (May ’15)
– My composition Prelude in G Minor (May ’16)
– Bartók’s Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (nos. 2, 3, and 6 from his Mikrokosmos) (May ’17)
– Bach’s Fugue in D Minor (Tausig’s arrangement) (May ’18)
– Solo-piano jazz concerts in Austria and Germany (March ’19)


The Janus Jazz Trio (most recently formed); tribute bands formed to honor the bebop pianists, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Wes Montgomery; Polson, Hirsh & Miller (a jazz trio); Thomas Mackay Quartet; Siskiyou Jazz Project; Urban Cadence, Polson & Solberg, the Midway Jazz Quartet, and the Nancy Harms Trio (in St. Paul and Minneapolis); Two against Three (in Medford, Oregon); Jazz Groove (in Fargo, North Dakota); and the St. Andrews Trio (in St. Andrews, Scotland)


A Baker’s Dozen, Terpsichore, Trading Thors, Potion of Solitude, Nancy Harms Trio, Urban Cadence: First Time Out, Thor Polson: Selected Recordings, Thor Polson & Friends: Northern Lights (most recent recording)

Northern Lights is available for purchase through the following outlets, among many others: and


Recordings and interviews have been aired on KBEM, KFAI, KNOW, and FM107 in the Twin Cities, on KRUU in Fairfield, Iowa, and on JPR and KSKQ in Ashland. Recordings can also be heard on the internet stations Pandora and Jango Radio, among others.


Member of the Music Teachers National Association (as of 2010); Rogue Valley District member of the Oregon Music Teachers Association (2010-18 and 2020- ); member of the Missouri Music Teachers Association (2019)


– Lesson with Nelita True (as participant in the International Piano Institute at SOU, summer 2011)
– Jazz clinics with Mark Levine in Weed, California and Medford, Oregon (fall 2011 and 2013)
– Performance at master class with Anthony DeMare (SOU, spring 2013)
– International Piano Institute at SOU, summer 2011-14 (auditor and performer)
– Jazz in the Canyon: Thomas MacKay Project (Dunsmuir, CA, summer 2013)
– Spot on Rogue Valley Community Television with Thomas Mackay Project (summer 2013)
– Recording session in Minneapolis (summer 2014)
– Two lessons with Alexander Shtarkman (June 2017)
– Interview on Jefferson Public Radio to promote the Wes Montgomery tribute (spring 2018)
– Recording session in Minneapolis (fall 2018)
– Various talks on improvising given periodically to the local chapter of the Oregon Music Teachers Association (2010-18)