Dr. John William Trotter, conductor

The TMC welcomes John William Trotter as a guest conductor during our 2019/20 season. He will conduct the Choir on February 22, 2020 in the Romantics and New Romantics concert.

Conductor John William Trotter interacts with musicians and audiences to celebrate the gift of music and its powerful place in human identity. He has conducted more than a dozen professional choirs and orchestras on three continents, and continues to study and teach widely in the areas of music, leadership, and the role of the arts in society.

Trotter is Artistic Director Designate of the professional ensemble Chicago a cappella (described by the Chicago Tribune as “the city’s liveliest, most versatile vocal ensemble”), with whom he previously served for several years as Principal Music Director, leading over fifty performances of a dozen programs throughout the region.  He is also Associate Professor at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, where he leads the Concert Choir and trains young conductors.  Over the past several years, the Wheaton College Concert Choir have become recognized for their innovative approach to masterworks, such as their semi-staged production of Handel’s Messiah, exploration of interdisciplinary collaborations with dancers, painters, and actors, and direct engagement with audiences in concert halls, homeless shelters, and with hundreds of inmates at a state prison.  In 2018, Trotter received the Leland Ryken Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.

Trotter’s various ensembles have been honored with invitations to perform live at national, regional, and state conventions of Chorus America, the American Choral Directors Association, and the National Association for Music Education. His performances have been broadcast throughout North America on NPR and CBC, as well as internationally, and on television across the United States.

Prior to his work in the Chicago area, Trotter earned the Doctorate in Conducting from the University of Michigan and undertook further advanced studies with Eric Ericson, Helmuth Rilling, Andrew Parrott, and Jon Washburn. He now trains young conductors and serves as a resource to mid-career professionals through conference presentations and intensive workshops. His conducting students have distinguished themselves by taking up significant positions, gaining entrance to the top-ranked graduate programs in North America, and earning national recognition at the ACDA Student Conducting Competition.

Trotter is well known for his ability to connect with audiences and for his interest in building bridges between the professional music world, music training institutions, and the wider community.  An experienced improviser, he is an advocate for the recovery of this musical skill among amateurs and professionals alike. His activities now range from choral/orchestral masterworks, jazz, new music, and film score recording to work as a consultant, clinician, adjudicator, conducting teacher, composer/arranger, writer, speaker, and leader of improvisation workshops.

During the 2019-20 season, Dr. Trotter is on sabbatical from Wheaton College and Chicago a cappella. He is a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University (UK), and a visiting teacher at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden.  He will also work with ensembles and train conductors in Nairobi, Kenya, and observe eminent conductors and ensembles in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and France.