Jason Thornton is the Music Director of Bath Philharmonia. He has conducted orchestras throughout the UK, Europe, America and the Far East, including the RPO, London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia, Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Jykasyla Sinfonia (Finland) and the Kaposvar Symphony Orchestra (Hungary).
Jason grew up in the West Midlands and was the recipient of a free musical education courtesy of Sandwell Music Service. He switched viola playing for conducting at the age of 16, conducting various youth ensembles and forming Sandwell Sinfonia, his own orchestra inspired by collaborations with friends. Studies for a PGCE brought him to Bath where he formed Bath Philharmonia and since then has had an amazing time making music with everyone from local school children to some of the world’s finest musicians including Renee Fleming, Sir Willard White, Joseph Calleja, Nicola Benedetti, Jennifer Pike, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Jess Gillam, Peter Donohoe and Stephen Hough.
After working as a classroom music teacher for 5 years, Jason retrained as a community music leader nearly twenty years ago. Since then he has led numerous projects particularly in the areas of merged SEN and mainstream participation. More recently, Jason has become a specialist in open access inclusive delivery in school and community settings. He has worked with many Music Hubs, Schools, Community Groups, Orchestras, Venues and Festivals across the UK and in Europe. For the last ten years, he has been leading all the Young Carer projects for Bath Philharmonia and he also founded and led the Community Music module at Bath Spa University, leading its delivery from 2009 to 2017. During lockdown Jason has led 60 online sessions for Young Carers from across the south west as well as developing and writing Go-Compose, a resource and digital tool for classroom composition for non-specialist teachers at Key Stage 2 as well as music teachers at Key Stage 3 for the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Music Hub Soundstorm. Jason frequently leads workforce training sessions with both musicians and teachers focusing on inclusive delivery.
For the last twenty years Jason has been actively involved in classical programming and production for festivals and concerts series. From 2002 to 2015 Jason was the classical programmer for the Frome Festival and from 2011 - 2014 was the artistic director of the evening concert series at the Holbourne Museum in Bath. In 2013, Jason established the classical programme at The Exchange Sturminster Newton, and in 2019 Jason was elected Artistic Director at the Budleigh Music Festival in Devon.
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