John William Trotter, D.M.A.

Associate Professor of Music (Concert Choir, Conducting)
On Faculty since 2012

Office: McAlister Hall 101
Phone: (630)752-5841


D.M.A., conducting, University of Michigan, 2009

M.M., conducting, University of Michigan, 2007

A.R.C.T., piano performance, The Royal Conservatory, 2000

B.M., general studies, University of British Columbia, 1998

About John William Trotter

John William Trotter’s work from the podium has been recognized internationally through numerous prizes, grants, and guest conducting invitations. To date, he has conducted more than a dozen professional orchestras and choirs in seven countries. In 2015, he 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."

Prior to joining the Wheaton College faculty in 2012, Dr. Trotter 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 in 2011 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 Music Director of Vancouver-based Pacifica Singers, an ensemble whose mandate is to provide experienced and motivated choral singers with direct exposure to the world of professional music making.

At Wheaton College, Dr. Trotter conducts the Concert Choir and trains young conductors. Under his direction, the Concert Choir have sung on concert series, led worship in churches, performed with professional ensembles, and toured to many states. They have also performed in less conventional venues, including a furniture store, a public lecture, and a 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 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 (A Wheaton College alumnus) 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.

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. (

Media Center