Dr. Thornton is currently in his fifteenth year as Associate Professor of Woodwinds and Jazz at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. Previously, he served seven years in a similar position at Minot State University. He received a B.S.Educ. from Dickinson State University, a M.M. from the University of Minnesota, and a D.M.A. at the University of Minnesota. He has also taught at St. Cloud State University, the University of Wisconson - Eau Claire, the University of Minnesota, and has served on the faculty of the International Music Camp during the summer. He also serves as a clarinet and saxophone clinician for the Conn/Selmer Company. |
Dr. Thornton appears frequently as guest conductor, clinician, and soloist. He has appeared on the Merv Griffin Show, the March of Dimes Telethon and many other television shows throughout the country. He was selected by his peers to receive the 1987 Minnesota Jazz Award on clarinet. He performed with his own jazz quartet and the Dixie Jazz Patrol at the 1989 International Clarinet Festival. Also at the Clarinet Festival, his jazz arrangement of his composition, "2744 Blaisdell", was premiered by the Minnesota Clarinet Choir, featuring himself as soloist. Dr. Thornton also performed at the 1990 International Association of Jazz Educators Convention in New Orleans.
Dr. Thornton leads an active career as a free-lance professional musician in the Twin-Cities area, including recent performances with Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton John, Bobby Caldwell, Johnny Mathis, Marvin Hamlisch, and Bernadette Peters, groups such as Kansas, the Four Tops, and the Spinners, as well as numerous Broadway musicals at the Ordway, State, and Orpheum Theaters in the Twin Cities. Since returning to the Twin Cities area, he has also performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, North Star Opera, JazzMN, and the Plymouth Music Series. He has a deep interest in Klezmer and Bulgarian music and has performed with the group Klezmerica in New York, Miami, and Israel. He also performs with the Thornton Jazz Quartet, and in addition to the CD “Child’s Play” ,has recently released a new CD , “Digit Music”.