Michael Thornton

Director, Horn Workshop, BU Tanglewood Institute

Michael Thornton enjoys a distinguished and varied career as an orchestral performer, chamber musician, soloist, and pedagogue. He has performed on six continents with acclaimed ensembles and has presented master classes at the world’s most prestigious musical institutions.

Mr. Thornton holds concurrent positions as Principal Horn of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Colorado Symphony. In these positions he has worked with renowned classical and popular artists from Yo Yo Ma, Itzak Perlman, and Renee Fleming to Jack Black, One Republic, and the Wu Tang Clan. Michael Thornton has also performed and recorded with renowned ensembles including The Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, KBS Symphony (South Korea), and Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to his appointments in California and Colorado, Michael Thornton left his studies at The Juilliard School to become the Principal Horn of the Honolulu Symphony. A native of Long Island, NY, Mr. Thornton’s primary teachers included Randy Gardner, Jerome Ashby, and Julie Landsman.

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), among many others. He performs annually as the horn artist faculty for the Colorado College Summer Music Festival. As a soloist, in addition to his regular appearances with the Colorado Symphony, Mr. Thornton has performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, National Arts Center Orchestra (Canada), Melbourne Musician’s Chamber Orchestra (Australia), the New Symphony Orchestra of Bulgaria, the Cape Town Philharmonic (South Africa), 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 Professor of Horn. 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.