Margaret Thornhill has performed as a soloist in the United States and Europe, making 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 poignancy." "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" woodwind quintet. She frequently performs as a duo with pianist Twyla Meyer, and
has recently formed a new trio with violinist Alyssa Park and pianist
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 column about clarinet choir literature for THE CLARINET, the journal of the International Clarinet Association, and contributes articles on clarinet technique and pedagogy for British Clarinet and Saxophone and Australian Clarinet and Saxophone. She is founder/conductor
of the Los Angeles Clarinet Choir, a 16 member ensemble which has been
featured at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest 2007 in
Vancouver, Canada, 2010 in Austin, Texas, and 2011 in Los Angeles, and for
standing-room only audiences at the South Pasadena Eclectic Music Festival
and the Vandoren Clarinet Ensemble Festival at UCLA. In 2006, she founded
the the Claremont Clarinet Festival, where she is the master teacher in a
summer workshop for advanced clarinetists, in residence at Pomona College
for a week in June. She coaches chamber music for CMNC (SF Bay Area) and
the Chamber Music Society of Santa Barbara and conducts clarinet
masterclasses throughout California and the west.
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 also conducts masterclasses throughout California.
Margaret currently has a flourishing private studio in Los Angeles where her advanced students typically describe her teaching as "transforming".