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Daniel Thornton : Associate Artist

Thornton's music is tangible, accessible and provoking. His focus is on music attached to purpose, picture or experience.

Photo of Daniel Thornton


Daniel Thornton was born in Sydney, Australia. Following his years at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School, Thornton undertook his Bachelor of Music at the Conservatorium of Music Sydney, during which time he also attained his LMusA (A.M.E.B.) and Trinity College of Music London Performer's Certificate (piano).

In 1987, Thornton's Childish Syndromes for wind quintet was performed by Musica Viva's Windbags and later published and recorded by EMI as part of the Young Imagination Competition. 19 years later, the 4th Movement is still regularly performed to school children around Australia.

Also in that year, his orchestral work Strontium was performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra after winning the AB./SS. Composition Competition, which he again won in 1989 for his work De Paradis a l'Enfer. Through a Big Brother Scholarship and the Sydney Eisteddfod's Operation Music Award, Thornton travelled to London to study. During this time, he premiered two of his compositions before Princess Margaret.

His compositions have featured at the Opening of the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre (1990), and the Conservatorium High School's 75th Anniversary concert (1993). His scoring for film and television began in 1990 with the educational video series Hand's up for a Story. Since that time Thornton has scored for innumerable documentaries and short films.

Through much of the mid-1990s, Thornton arranged and sequenced all the music for both the International Schools of Music and Australian Music Schools' courses, whilst writing his own piano teaching series entitled Outrageous Technique.

Thornton's musicals Questions, Tyler, Snydley's Christmas Surprise, Angels we have heard, The Easter Experience, and others, have been performed to many thousands of people over the last decade. In this sacred vein of writing, Thornton is also well known for his contemporary worship material, sung in churches around the world and recorded on 14 commercially released CDs.

Having lectured at Southern Cross College and Hillsong College, and regularly performing on the LifeSource and Paradise Down Under TV shows, Thornton is currently the Music Pastor at Paradise Community Church, whilst also focusing on composing for selected film/television productions and concert works.

Thornton represents a truly diverse and eclectic compositional history. He is as comfortable with writing pop as he is with microtonal exploration. He is as adept with an orchestra as he is with a sequencer and loops. His works are easily accessible, yet remain fresh and unique.

Daniel Thornton — current to March 2011

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Fear, flight, falls (quartets: 4 flutes) (2006) Commissioned by Tucana (Musical group).
Digital sheet music sample Orc mating rituals : flute with piano (2005) Commissioned by Allan Scott-Rogers