253 Fine Arts Center
Active as a conductor, teacher, author, and clinician, 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 has studied conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, Kenneth Fulton, Frauke Haasemann, Margaret Hillis, Bruce Chamberlain, Donald Neuen and Constantina Tsolainou.
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 Festivals in both Italy and the United States, and he has recorded with Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Muti, 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 150 women's, men's, and mixed choruses in public schools, colleges, churches, community and professional organizations. A strong advocate for the choral arts, Thornton was engaged for four years by the Beyond the Bell Branch of the Los Angeles Unified School District - the second largest school district in the nation - to present choral pedagogy workshops to music teachers and choral master classes to students in middle and high schools. In this capacity, he had the opportunity to work with thousands of singers and their teachers.
Highlights of his 2010-11 season include conducting the Massachusetts ACDA Honor Choirs, New Hampshire All-State Women's Choir, Massachusetts MEA Western District Senior Mixed Chorus, and the Vermont ACDA Community Chorus Festival, as well as conducting workshops with several high schools throughout New England.
Dr. Thornton is the author of The Choral Singer's Survival Guide (giamusic.com). Already a popular tool for singers and conductors around the world, The Choral Singer's Survival Guideleads singers through the life cycle of the choral experience, from auditions and rehearsals to the performance and beyond. He is the General Editor of the Julius Herford Collection (forthcoming) and he maintains a choral series in his name at Colla Voce Music.
Thornton has held teaching positions at California State University-Los Angeles, Los Angeles City College, and Pomona College. He was Artistic Director of Los Angeles Choral Artists from 2003-2009 and the Tucson Masterworks Chorale from 2006-2008.
Dr. Thornton is currently Director of Choral Activities at UMass Amherst, where he oversees an extensive choral program that includes six ensembles and directs the graduate program in choral conducting. Thornton conducts the Chamber Choir, University Chorale, and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting and choral literature. He also serves as a Summer Session and Saturday Seminar faculty member at Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
Dr. Thornton holds active memberships in ACDA, Chorus America, and the National Collegiate Choral Organization. He is a national member of Phi Mu Alpha.