I believe there is no more universal language than music, and that it is often only through music that we can express
the otherwise inexpressible—and change the hearts and minds of people for the better.

—Tony Thornton

Active as an educator, conductor, and author, Tony Thornton received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Voice from Westminster Choir College, his 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 Bruce Chamberlain, Joseph Flummerfelt, Kenneth Fulton, Frauke Haasemann, Margaret Hillis, and Donald Neuen.

As a guest conductor and clinician active nationally and internationally, Dr. Thornton has worked with over 400 mixed, treble, and tenor/bass choruses in public and private schools, colleges, churches, community ensembles, and professional organizations in 24 states, Japan, and throughout Europe.

Trained first as a singer, 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.  

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 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 is co-founder of the UMass Summer Conducting Institute. In addition, he is the Founding Artistic Director of Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble and Artistic Director Designate for the Sarteano Chamber Choral Conducting Workshop.

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