Shenandoah Conservatory announces the appointment of Austin Thorpe, Ph.D., as choral artist-in-residence and director of the Conservatory Choir beginning August 2022.
“I’m so delighted that Austin will be joining us soon,” said Shenandoah Conservatory Dean and Professor of Music Michael Stepniak, Ed.D. “Beyond bringing exceptional musicianship and passion for choral performance at the highest level, he has an extraordinary orientation for community building and for nurturing students”
Dr. Thorpe most recently served as the visiting director of choirs at the University of Utah for the 2021/22 academic year where he conducted the chamber and a cappella choir. He also taught choral music at Herriman High School, garnering a reputation for those ensembles’ signature sound, from 2011 to 2017.
“We are excited to have Austin join the choral faculty,” said Assistant Professor of Music Education (Choral Emphasis) Hillary Ridgley, Ph.D. “He brings a spirit of collaboration and a passion for student-focused learning.”
He strongly believes in commissioning new works by historically excluded composers, and this year commissioned and premiered “The 42 Project” by Chicago composer Adrian Dunn. This work honored the legacy of civil rights icon Jackie Robinson and the 75th anniversary of his integration into Major League Baseball.
“I am very much looking forward to working with Dr. Thorpe,” said Dina Spyropoulos ’23 (Master of Music in Conducting). “His expectation of choral excellence and passion for music making are just what this program needs to flourish. He will be a great asset to the conservatory community next year.”
Dr. Thorpe received his Ph.D. in choral conducting and music education from Florida State University (FSU) where he studied with Drs. André Thomas, Kevin Fenton, Michael Hanawalt, Judy Arthur and Clifford Madsen. He wrote the dissertation “Ronald J Staheli and the Choral Art: Risking Total Commitment for an ‘Achingly Glorious Beauty’” while at FSU. Dr. Thorpe earned both his Master of Music and Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Utah, studying with Dr. Barlow Bradford and Dr. Jessica Nápoles.