Discouraged by his Yale music professor Paul Hindemith, Francis Thorne's musical aspirations took a back seat to
a flourishing Wall Street career until middle age. Encouraged by Duke Ellington, Thorne worked steadily as a jazz
pianist in New York clubs. The itch to compose brought Thorne and his family to Italy, where he hoped to study with Luigi Dallapiccola. Instead, he met David Diamond, who proved to be "the perfect teacher," and Thorne's compositional voice bloomed with a vengeance, amassing more than 111 compositions and numerous honors over the next four decades. In turn, Thorne has given voice to aspiring and established composers as president and CEO of the American Composers Orchestra. Since their debut concert in February 1977, the ACO has performed more than 350 works by 250 emerging and established American composers. Once in a while Thorne returns to his jazz roots: playing and singing,
and swinging like mad.
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