John William Trotter

Conductor

Conductor

Biography

John William Trotter has conducted more than a dozen professional orchestras and choirs in seven countries, and his work from the podium has been recognized internationally through numerous prizes, grants, and invitations.  Prior to joining the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music as a full-time faculty member in 2012, he served as Associate Conductor of Canada's outstanding professional ensemble, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, which he conducted in over twenty-five performances throughout Canada, Taiwan, and Japan.  His performance of the 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”, and his season opening concert was broadcast nationally by CBC radio.  As part of his work with the ensemble, Dr. Trotter established and enhanced engagement programs for composers, conductors, singers, and audience members.  He was also the founding conductor of Vancouver-based Pacifica Singers, an ensemble with a mandate to provide experienced and motivated choral singers with direct exposure to the world of professional music making. 

In 2015, Trotter was named Principal Music Director of Chicago A Cappella, the professional ensemble described by the Chicago Tribune as "The city's liveliest, most versatile vocal ensemble", and Chicago Magazine as "The area's best unaccompanied group".  He leads the ensemble in over a dozen performances annually, including venues such as Ravinia, the Chicago Music Institute, Wentz Hall, and both Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and the Logan Centre for the Arts at the University of Chicago. 

At Wheaton College, Dr. Trotter conducts the Concert Choir and trains young conductors.  Under his direction, the Concert Choir has performed with professional ensembles, sung on professional concert series, been featured at music conferences, recognized as finalists for the American Prize, and toured widely.  Among their many performances, in 2013/14, the ensemble gave six tour performances of Handel's virtuosic masterwork Dixit Dominus, in 2014/15, they premiered an innovative Lenten Concert format on campus, and in 2015/16 mounted a new semi-staged production of Handel's Messiah.  In their pursuit of the full breadth of the musicians' vocation, they have also performed in a furniture store, as a flash mob, at a homeless shelter, and for hundreds of inmates at a state prison.  Recently, the Choir has enjoyed exploring interdisciplinary collaborations with dancers and painters, and engaging in improvisation with audiences.  

Dr. Trotter’s conducting students have distinguished themselves by gaining entrance to top graduate schools and establishing themselves in the field.  In 2015, two of his undergraduate students advanced to the semifinal round of eight, and one to the final round of four, at the national ACDA Student Conducting Competition.

Dr. Trotter earned both the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in Conducting at the University of Michigan, the #1 ranked conducting training program in the United States, where he studied with professors Dr. Jerry Blackstone and Kenneth Kiesler. During his residence at U-M, he won numerous scholarships and awards, including honors from the American Choral Directors Association and the Canada Council for the Arts, and pursued advanced conducting studies with Helmuth Rilling, Andrew Parrott, and Eric Ericson.  

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.