Faculty Profiles

An acclaimed musical leader, Dr. John William Trotter interacts with musicians and audiences to celebrate the gift of music and its powerful place in human identity.

As the inaugural John and Anita Nelson Distinguished Chair of Sacred Choral Music and Conducting at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, he leads the Concert Choir and helps train a new generation of conductors and musical leaders.

Trotter has conducted more than a dozen professional choirs and orchestras on three continents and studies and teaches widely in the areas of music, leadership, and the role of the arts in society. His performances of concert music have attracted special attention for their freshness and authenticity. His various ensembles have been honored with invitations to perform live at national, regional, and state conventions of the Chorus America, the American Choral Directors’ Association, and the National Association for Music Education.  With the Concert Choir, he has toured domestically and internationally, including a 2017 tour throughout South Korea involving twenty performances and several broadcasts. Over the past decade, the Concert Choir has become recognized for its innovative approach to masterworks, interdisciplinary collaborations with dancers, painters, and actors, and direct engagement with audiences in concert halls, homeless shelters, and within prisons.  In 2018, Trotter received the Leland Ryken Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.

During a 2019/20 sabbatical, Dr. Trotter spent two terms as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge (UK) teaching in the Masters in Choral Studies program. He was also a visiting teacher at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, and worked with ensembles and researched leading conductors and ensembles in Germany, the Netherlands, and France.  More recently, he has led performances, masterclasses, and leadership & organizational development intensives throughout Canada, Greece, Mexico, and Kenya.  

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.  An experienced improviser, he is an advocate for the recovery of this musical skill among amateurs and professionals alike. 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.

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

University of Michigan
M.M. conducting, 2007

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

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

  • Choral conducting
  • Orchestral conducting
  • Leadership development
  • The arts and society