Maurita Phillips-Thornburgh

Maurita (Bunny) Phillips-Thornburgh, internationally known soprano soloist, resides in Southern California, where she conducts Cantori Domino and serves as minister of music at the St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Monica. Thornburgh has performed extensively as a recitalist throughout the U.S. and in Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.

Thornburgh is known for her exquisite musicianship and artistry and has an extensive repertoire, ranging from fourteenth century works to more recent writings. She particularly enjoys music from the Baroque era, especially that of Johann Sebastian Bach.

She has sung as a soloist in major choral works with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and the Roger Wagner Chorale, and performed under the direction of noted conductors Eric Leinsdorf, Zubin Mehta, Eugene Ormandy, George Solti, Herbert Blomstedt, Esa Pekka Salonen, and Gerard Schwarz.

Besides her work as a sought-after soloist, she has also conducted choral groups, including the Chamber Singers at La Sierra University for a year, and served as an artistic director for several programs. Her choral group, Cantori Domino, has performed extensively, participating in choral workshops and touring in Eastern Europe.

She began conducting choral groups at age sixteen and has led numerous church choirs in the intervening years. She currently conducts the choirs at the Vallejo Drive SDA church and the Episcopal church in Santa Monica. She joined with Del Delker and the King's Heralds quartet in the 1970's to sing in a Voice of Prophecy group called the Hymnsingers, directed by her uncle, Wayne Hooper.

When Thornburgh began her second year at St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal church, she was inducted as minister of music in an elaborate service which also paid tribute to her. The church's three ministers, two ministers who had worked with her previously, and the choir participated in a service rich in ceremony and in sacred music masterpieces.

She has recorded several albums with major recording companies and has sung in numerous sound tracks for television and film, including Beauty and the Beast, Amistad, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, Hook, Aladdin, Jurassic Park, Anastasia, Matrix Reloaded, Matrix Revolution, and others.

Thornburgh attended Union College, La Sierra University, and the California Institute of Music. She graduated from CIM, where she has also served as a faculty member. Andrews University awarded her an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in August 2000, in recognition of her achievements as a soloist, teacher, and conductor.


Sources: Biography at Cantori Domino website (2013); IAMA Notes, Summer/Autumn 2000, 22; Interview with Wayne Hooper, February 2005.