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Biography

An extremely sensitive artist--wonderful at every aspect of playing and teaching the clarinet. - Rosario Mazzeo

Admiration for your artistry and style - Leon Russianoff


photo (2009): Shawn Flint Blair

Margaret Thornhill is an artist/teacher of clarinet in Los Angeles who has performed as a clarinet soloist in the United States and Europe. She made her New York recital debut at Merkin Hall in 1982 and her UK debut at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in 1991. Critics have raved about her performances of the Mozart Concerto, K. 622 as being "music of incomparable grace and almost unbearable poignance. Thornhill's performance was as loveable as Mozart was loving" (Peninsula Times-Tribune), of the Stravinsky Three Pieces as "Thornhill's musicality, technique, and control are extraordinary"(Palo Alto Times.) John Rockwell, former lead music critic of the New York Times, called her performances of Rorem, Brahms, Levy and Berg a recital "nicely planned and nicely played."

Margaret was for ten years founder/director and clarinetist with the Matrix Chamber Ensemble, a Los Angeles-based 20th century group which won numerous local, state and national grants and awards, was selected for the touring roster of the California Arts Council, and performed for Community Concerts. She collaborates as a chamber musician with Los Angeles Philharmonic, recording studio and LA Opera principals, and is a member of "Category V", a woodwind quintet with oboist David Kossoff, bassoonist John Campbell,hornist Nathan Campbell, and flutist Julie Long. She frequently performs as a duo with pianist Twyla Meyer.

On historical clarinets, she has performed and recorded for Centaur records with the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, with the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra at the Getty Museum, and with the chamber groups Divertimento and Clarion.

Margaret writes a regular column about clarinet choir literature for THE CLARINET, the journal of the International Clarinet Association, and has contributed articles on clarinet technique and pedagogy for British Clarinet and Saxophone and Australian Clarinet and Saxophone. Founding conductor of the Los Angeles Clarinet Choir, she has conducted them in performances at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFests in 2007,2010, and 2011 and in concerts at museums, libraries, churches, senior centers, and schools. A native of California, Margaret holds degrees from the University of California and Stanford University, where she earned a DMA in performance practice. Her principal clarinet teacher was the legendary Rosario Mazzeo, with whom she studied for nine years and was his assistant for two. She also studied with Leon Russianoff, of the Juilliard School, with David Breeden, late principal of the San Francisco Symphony, and historical clarinet Colin Lawson, now head of the Royal College of Music.

A former member of the faculty of UCSC and Stanford University, Margaret was for five years professor of instrumental music at Occidental College, and is Adjunct Professor of Clarinet at Concordia University, Irvine. She coaches chamber music for CMNC (SF Bay Area) and the Chamber Music Society of Santa Barbara, and in the past for the San Diego Chamber Music Workshop and the Cabrillo Summer Academy. In 2006, she founded the the Claremont Clarinet Festival, where she is the master teacher in a summer workshop for advanced adult players in residence at Pomona College the first week of June. She conducts clarinet masterclasses throughout California, and teaches private clarinet lessons to advanced students in her Los Angeles studio, many of whom typically describe their lessons as "transforming."