Michael Thornton

Principal Horn

Michael Thornton is recognized for his noble tone and his “sureness of technique, pitch, breath control, and articulation across the entire range of the instrument that are truly amazing” (Fanfare Magazine). He enjoys a distinguished and varied career as an orchestral performer, chamber musician, soloist, and pedagogue. Michael has performed on six continents with acclaimed ensembles and has presented master classes at the world’s most prestigious musical institutions.

As an orchestral musician, Michael Thornton currently holds the position of Principal Horn with both the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony. Between these ensembles, he has worked with many of the greatest artists from Yo-Yo Ma to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. In addition to these positions, Michael has performed, toured and recorded as a guest with the Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, KBS Symphony (South Korea), Toronto Symphony, and many others. Prior to his current positions, Michael Thornton left his studies at The Juilliard School to become Principal Horn of the Honolulu Symphony.

An avid chamber musician and a recognized soloist internationally, Michael Thornton has been a featured performer at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (NM), Mainly Mozart (CA), Spoleto (SC), Moab Music Festival (UT), Campos do Jordao International Winter Festival (Brazil), Medellin Festicamara (Colombia), Reno Chamber Music Festival, and more. As a soloist, Mr. Thornton has performed with the National Arts Center Orchestra (Canada), Cape Town Philharmonic (South Africa), Melbourne Musician’s Chamber Orchestra (Australia), the New Symphony Orchestra of Bulgaria, and numerous orchestras in the US. He appears regularly as a master clinician and performer at conferences and horn symposia worldwide.

Appointed to the faculty of the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1999, Michael Thornton is currently Associate Professor of Horn. In addition, he serves as a Faculty Artist at the Colorado College Music Festival each June. Mr. Thornton holds certification in Mental Toughness Training from the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida, and implements this training in his teaching. His students hold positions in orchestras throughout the United States and abroad, and have won numerous awards and competitions. Professor Thornton has twice received the Marinus Smith Award, which is bestowed upon teachers at CU Boulder who have made significant contributions to their students’ development.

highlights:
S E S S I O N spiva

Produced in collaboration with Four Larks, SESSION featured the world premiere of The Body Overcome by Derrick Spiva Jr, hindustani vocalist Saili Oak, a US premiere by composer Juan Pablo Contreras and works by Conor Brown, Salina Fisher and Reena Esmail.

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Sound Investment

Have you ever listened to a favorite symphony and wondered what shaped the composer’s ideas? How the orchestra players reacted upon first reading the new score? How the composer felt as musicians finally gave sonic life to notes on paper?

You can get answers when you commission a new work of music through Sound Investment.

LA Orchestra Fellowship

The LA Orchestra Fellowship is a two-year orchestra intensive for musicians on violin, viola, and cello.

Fellows are mentored in chamber and orchestral performance and gain invaluable experience while training and playing alongside Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra musicians, faculty at USC Thornton and mentor members of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.