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
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 (giamusic.com) 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 President of the Massachusetts chapter of the
American Choral Directors Association.