Musician and Author

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

Tony Thornton is an award-winning educator, conductor, and author. He earned 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. His conducting mentors include Bruce Chamberlain, Joseph Flummerfelt, Kenneth Fulton, Frauke Haasemann, Margaret Hillis, and Donald Neuen.

As a guest conductor and clinician, Dr. Thornton has made significant contributions nationally and internationally. He has collaborated with over 400 mixed, treble, and tenor/bass choruses across public and private schools, colleges, churches, community ensembles, and professional organizations in 25 states, Japan, and throughout Europe.

With his roots as a trained singer, Thornton has performed as a tenor soloist in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He was a member of the Westminster Choir, performing at prestigious festivals such as the Spoleto Festival in Italy and the United States. His voice can also be heard on recordings with renowned conductors like Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Muti, Robert Shaw, Claudio Abbado, and Zubin Mehta. Notably, he sang for six years as a member of the Grammy Award-winning Robert Shaw Festival Singers.

In addition to his performance career, Thornton is the author of The Choral Singer’s Survival Guide and has established a choral series bearing his name at Colla Voce Music. He served as Director of Choral Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for thirteen years before assuming the position of Director of Choral and Vocal Studies and the Doug and Nickie Burns Endowed Chair in Choral Music at Oklahoma State University’s Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music in the fall of 2022. Thornton is also the Artistic Director of the Sarteano (Italy) Choral Workshop and the Founding Artistic Director of Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble.

Dr. Thornton maintains active memberships in several prestigious organizations, including 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 has a history of leadership within the ACDA, having served as the Past President of the Massachusetts chapter and the Collegiate R&R Chair for ACDA Eastern.