Sandy Thorburn

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Sandy Thorburn (born 1963 as Hugh Alexander Thorburn) is a Canadian composer and arranger.


He holds a Bachelor of Music (Honours) from McGill University, a Graduate Diploma in Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television from the University of Southern California, and a Master's Degree and a Ph.D in musicology from the University of Toronto.[1] He is also one of a very few Canadian academics who have studied with notable film composers Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Bruce Broughton, Henry Mancini and Buddy Baker at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music in composition for motion pictures and television. He worked as an orchestrator for several American television programs including In the Heat of the Night, and worked as an orchestrator for several Hollywood films including Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.


Thorburn was resident musical director of The Thousand Islands Playhouse since 1986, and has musically directed numerous musicals.[2]

He has also directed two highly regarded productions including Forever Plaid (2009)[3] which was remounted at the Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia, and subsequently at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre near Toronto, Canada and Billy Bishop Goes to War (2011)[4] by John Gray, which will be remounted at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope in 2012.

Scholarly Work.[edit]

He has taught music history, theory, ear training, performance and composition at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as at the Faculty of Music, Scarborough College, and Knox College [5] at the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo,[6] Wilfrid Laurier University, and Lakehead University in Orillia. He has also taught musical theatre performance at St. Lawrence College in Brockville.

Film Music, Television and Radio Credits[edit]

He spent several years (1990–93) as composer for CBC-Newsworld (now CBC News Network), composing themes for Ideas on Camera, The Media File, The Medicine File, The Passionate Eye, Vis-A-Vis and other programs. More recently, he has appeared on In Performance with Eric Friesen,[7] and was musical consultant and researcher for the new CBC2 series Peter The Symphony, hosted by Friesen, with Toronto Symphony Orchestra conductor Peter Oundjian.

Church Music[edit]

He was organist and choir director of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Toronto from September 2006 until 2013. He previously held the same position at Celebration Presbyterian Church on Coldstream Avenue in Toronto. He is a regular lecturer and speaker on music, opera, theatre, and musical theatre, and has been a member of the Canadian Opera Company Speakers Bureau since 1999. He is a lecturer at Knox College, University of Toronto in Music in Christian Spirituality.[8]