Michael Thornton was Principal Horn in LIYO from1989 to 1991 and won LIYO’s concerto competition and performed for the first time Richard Strauss’ Concerto No. 1 with LIYO in the spring of 1991. Since then he has performed the concerto many times and now performs Strauss Concerto No. 2 more often.
“My time in the Long Island Youth Orchestra helped me develop the orchestral foundation that has become the cornerstone of my career. In addition to a rewarding musical experience in the Long Island Youth Orchestra, I made great friends, some of whom are now colleagues in orchestras around the world.”
Michael Thornton has held the position of Principal Horn with the Colorado Symphony since 1997. Prior to joining the Colorado Symphony, Michael left his studies at The Juilliard School for the Principal Horn position with the Honolulu Symphony, and has played guest Principal Horn for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, and Chautauqua Institute Festival Orchestra in Chautauqua, NY. He has also performed, toured, and recorded frequently with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Michael is a member of the artist faculty at the Colorado College Music Festival in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Other festival appearances include Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Mainly Mozart, Spoleto, Moab Music Festival, and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.
As a soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Thornton has performed on five continents with a variety of ensembles. These include the Colorado Symphony, National Arts Center Orchestra (Canada), Melbourne Musicians Chamber Orchestra (Australia), the Medellin Festival (Colombia), and many others. Michael Thornton was a guest solo artist at the 2008 International Horn Symposium, and has performed at many regional horn symposia as well.
Mr. Thornton became a member of the horn faculty at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1999. During his time at the University of Colorado, he has twice received the Marinus Smith Award for excellence in teaching. His students come from around the country, and have gone on to orchestral positions, academic positions, and major conservatories. His students perform around the world, and hold chairs in orchestras in the United States, Germany, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, Mexico, and Brazil, and Uraguay.
Michael studied at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and Temple University. His main teachers have included Jerome Ashby, Randy Gardner, Julie Landsman and J. C. Leuba.