Active as an educator, conductor, 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 active nationally and internationally, Dr. Thornton has worked with choruses 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 Professor of Music and 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. Dr. Thornton is the Founding Artistic Director of Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble. He is Past-President of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.