Studios  Trumpet   Trombone   Horn   Tuba + euphonium   Percussion

Three French horn players performing


Welcome to the horn studio at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music!

The horn studio consists of undergraduate and graduate students; our graduate students have completed their undergraduate work at such prestigious institutions as The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Cleveland Institute, Eastman School of Music, Mannes College of Music and Arizona State University. Ensembles afford undergraduates a unique opportunity to perform alongside graduate students, allowing undergraduates to benefit from the graduate students expertise on a regular basis.

The horn studio has Graduate Teaching Assistantships available in both Woodwind Quintet and Brass Quintet. Both of these ensembles have placed in national and/or international competitions (Fischoff, Plowman, MTNA and others). Teaching Assistants run sectionals, hold office hours and have the opportunity to develop their pedagogy by working with undergraduate students.

There are three music major degree programs available to undergraduate horn students at CU Boulder, designed to accommodate the needs of all types of potential music majors:

  • Bachelor of Music in Performance (BM) is a highly intensive approach to performance with the goal to be gainfully employed as a performer and/or teacher at the college level.
  • Bachelor of Music in Education (BME) is a program with a strong emphasis on performance as a key aspect of teaching others how to perform. This program also explores various facets of education and music pedagogy in depth.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA) is a program with less intense musical rigor, but can be tailored to a students individual needs and interest. There may be a strong emphasis on lessons, performance and ensemble participation, if the student so desires. This program is well-suited to students also interested in other academic or musical pursuits.

There are also three degrees offered at the graduate level:

  • Master of Music in Horn Performance (MM) is a highly intensive approach to performance with the goal to be gainfully employed as a performer and/or teacher at the college level.
  • Master of Music in Horn Performance and Pedagogy (MM) is almost identical to the MM in performance with the exception of different course requirements. This degree is for those interested in an intense approach to performance as well as a pedagogical background to offer a broader range of career options.
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Horn Performance and Pedagogy (DMA) is the highest degree offered at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music. DMA students develop highly individualized curricula in pursuit of their personal career goals.

During their time at the CU Boulder, graduate and exceptional undergraduate students are encouraged to work in the many professional ensembles available in our region. Horn students perform regularly as full-time members or extra musicians with ensembles including the Colorado Symphony, Boulder Philharmonic, Greeley Philharmonic, Fort Collins Symphony and the Central City Opera Orchestra. In the past seven years, a majority of regional orchestral positions (over 75%) has been won by members of the CU Boulder College of Music horn studio.

Alumni of the horn studio hold professional positions in orchestras and universities around the world, including Hong Kong Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, U.S. Army Bands, Montevideo Philharmonic (Uruguay), Amazon Philharmonic (Brazil), Glens Falls Symphony (NY), University of Wyoming, Denver Metropolitan State University and many others.

michael thornton

Photo courtesy Michael Kroth

Michael Thornton

Michael Thornton enjoys a distinguished and varied career as an orchestral performer, chamber musician, soloist and pedagogue. He joined the Colorado Symphony Orchestra as Principal Horn during the 1997 season, and in this capacity has worked with renowned classical and popular artists from Yo Yo Ma, Lang Lang and Renee Fleming to songwriter Randy Newman and Phish frontman Trey Anistasio. Before joining the CSO, he left his studies at The Juilliard School to become Principal Horn of the Honolulu Symphony. An avid chamber musician and a recognized soloist internationally, Thornton has been a featured performer at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (NM), Mainly Mozart (CA) and Medellin Festicamara (Colombia), among many others. He joined the College of Music faculty in 1999. MORE