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Thornton, Tony

Active as a conductor, educator, clinician, and author, Tony Thornton received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Voice from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Historical Musicology from the University of Arizona. He studied conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, Kenneth Fulton, Frauke Haasemann, Margaret Hillis, Bruce Chamberlain, and Donald Neuen.

Trained first as a singer, Dr. Thornton has performed as a tenor soloist throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. As a member of the Westminster Choir, he performed at the Spoleto Festival in Italy and the United States, and he has recorded with Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Muti, Robert Shaw, Claudio Abbado, and Zubin Mehta. He sang for seven years as a member of the Grammy Award-winning Robert Shaw Festival Singers.

As a guest conductor and clinician who is active on the national and international choral scene, Dr. Thornton has worked with over 300 women’s, men’s, and mixed choruses in public schools, colleges, churches, community, and professional organizations in 24 states, Japan, and throughout Europe.

Dr. Thornton is the author of The Choral Singer’s Survival Guide ( and he maintains a choral series in his name at Colla Voce Music. He is currently Director of Choral Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he oversees an extensive choral program, guides the graduate program in choral conducting, and serves as Director of the Choral Area for the UMass Summer Conducting Institute. He is the Founding Artistic Director of Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble.

Dr. Thornton holds active memberships in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Chorus America, International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM), National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO). He is Collegiate R&R Chair for ACDA Eastern and the Past-President of MassACDA.


The Joy of Choral Singing - Music Education,Sacred Music

Bring your local choral community together in fellowship and song for a day-long or weekend retreat with Tony Thornton, author of The Choral Singer’s Survival Guide. This fun and inspiring event will offer practical instruction and tips to dramatically improve each singer’s tone, musicianship, and rehearsal and performance skills.

Contact us now to schedule this incredible event in your area.

Choral Pedagogy in the Music Classroom - Music Education

Choral Pedagogy in the Music Classroom was first presented to teachers within the Los Angeles Unified School District as part of The Choral Project. This series of workshops and masterclasses empowered teachers with cutting-edge rehearsal techniques and inspired students toward greater artistry in their music-making. The workshop may be tailored to the needs of your school, either as a day-long teacher in-service or on-going to include the masterclass series and festival chorus performance.