Dr. Austin Thorpe is the Choral Artist-in-Residence at Shenandoah Conservatory where he leads the Conservatory Choir and teaches conducting. In September 2022, he conducted a choral ensemble from Shenandoah at the Biennale Contemporary Music Festival in Venice, Italy. Their innovative program, Native American Inspirations, featured a world premiere by Mohican composer Brent Michael Davids.
For the 2021/22 school year, Dr. Thorpe was the Visiting Director of Choirs at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he conducted the Chamber and A Cappella Choir. He is a believer in commissioning new works by historically excluded composers, and while at the University of Utah commissioned and premiered The 42 Project by Chicago-based composer Adrian Dunn. This work honors the legacy of civil rights icon Jackie Robinson and the 75th anniversary of his integration into Major League Baseball.
From 2011 to 2017, Dr. Thorpe taught choral music in Utah at Herriman High School, garnering a reputation for those ensembles’ signature sound. He 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. While at FSU, he wrote the dissertation “Ronald J Staheli and the Choral Art: Risking Total Commitment for an ‘Achingly Glorious Beauty.’” He earned both his Master of Music in Choral Conducting and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from the University of Utah, studying with Drs. Barlow Bradford and Jessica Nápoles.