Cellist Brian Thornton performs for, ‘inspires’ students

A soft whisper filled the Rose Room as students filed in, awaiting the solo concert performance by cellist Brian Thornton. Thornton, a cellist with the Cleveland Orchestra, performed and gave a master class on Feb. 13. 

He performed and discussed the impact of female musicians on the music industry. Thornton discussed sexism and shared his thoughts on how to improve and promote equality for all musicians. 

Photo by Gracie Marx
Cellist Brian Thornton speaks to Archer students about his time performing in the Cleveland Orchestra. Thornton has been a member of the Cleveland orchestra for 17 years.

Hannah Kim ’20, first-chair cellist in Archer’s Upper School Orchestra, said she was inspired by the performance. 

“I was inspired by Mr. Thorton [because] he strives to be an ally for women in one of the most discriminating fields in our world,” Kim said in an email interview. “Many people discourage young women like me from playing big instruments like the cello or bass. They believed that we were incapable and weak; we do not stand a chance against male cellists. However, by revealing to us the many female cellists who have became successful and inspired professional musicians like Mr. Thorton himself, I realized that I shouldn’t be scared to pursue my passion anymore.” 

Thornton has performed at venues including the White House and the Great Hall of People in Beijing, China. 

While Thornton plays a variety of music, he has a special interest in modern music from composers John Adams and Donald Erb. Thornton also has participated in concerts that benefit special causes such as the Muscular Dystrophy Society. He currently performs with the Cleveland Orchestra, where he has been a cellist for 17 years.