Years ago, Michael Thorne earned money playing and teaching the bassoon. He spent the 1980s conducting the Cardiff Chamber Orchestra and the City of Cardiff Symphony Orchestra as well as playing in the Spinosus Wind Quintet. In the 1990s he conducted the New Tyneside Orchestra and the Tynedale Symphony Orchestra. He is Musical Director of the Ellesmere Orchestral Society’s residential course – which he has conducted since 1992 – where he explores the modern symphonic repertoire including in the last few years Rautavaara’s Symphony No.8, Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra, Messaien’s Turangalila Symphony and Panufnik’s Symphony No.5. Between 2001 and 2013 he conducted a Wagner opera a year with the Edinburgh Players Opera group, including two complete Ring Cycles, Tristan und Isolde (twice), Parsifal (twice) and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg followed by Der Rosenkavalier in 2014, Die Frau Ohne Schatten in 2015 and Tannhauser in 2016 (with Elektra following later in 2017). For Palace Opera he conducted Ariadne auf Naxos in July 2017 and for the Saffron Opera Group he has conducted Die Meistersinger (2014), Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (2015), Das Rheingold and Die Walküre (2016) and Siegfried (2017) to critical acclaim (‘totally at one with the dramatic spirit and architecture’ – Seen and Heard International; ‘sure-footed conducting …meticulous preparation’ **** – The Guardian). He retired as a full time academic in 2016.