John William Trotter




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 studies and teaches widely in the areas of music, leadership, and the role of the arts in society.  He is widely active as a guest conductor, composer/arranger, educator, and speaker. He serves as Associate Professor at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and Principal Music Director of the professional ensemble Chicago a cappella.

Trotter’s performances of concert music have attracted special attention for their freshness and authenticity.  Performances with Chicago a cappella (described by the Chicago Tribune as "The city's liveliest, most versatile vocal ensemble"), and the Vancouver Chamber Choir (where his Vivaldi Magnificat was hailed by the Vancouver Sun as "a radiant performance of this work that overstated nothing and brought out all of its freshness and charm.") have been broadcast throughout North America on NPR and CBC. Trotter’s various ensembles have been honored with invitations to perform live at national, regional, and state conventions of the American Choral Directors’ Association, Chorus America, and the National Association for Music Education. At the invitation of the Far East Broadcasting Company, he recently led the Wheaton College Concert Choir on tour throughout South Korea, where he conducted twenty performances including several broadcasts.

Under his direction, 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. 

Trotter earned the Doctorate in Conducting from the University of Michigan (the top-ranked conducting program in North America) 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-careers 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.

Dr. Trotter's undergraduate training was at the University of British Columbia School of Music.  Though he auditioned and entered as a pianist, it was there that he first broadened his formal studies to include voice, conducting, composition, chamber music, jazz, and electroacoustic music, as well as literature, philosophy, psychology and economics.  Prior to commencing full-time studies at university, he studied piano, theory, and music history for eight years with Kay Wilson of Campbell River.

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.  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.