John Ashton Thomas Orchestrator on ‘Encanto’ Passes Away at 60

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Sad news in the music world. Orchestrator and conductor John Ashton Thomas has passed away at the age of 60. Thomas’ death on October 4 was announced by music publisher Manners McDade and Trinity Laban, the London college where he had taught since 1992 as its composition department’s longest-serving member.

John Ashton Thomas has over 165 film and television credits to his name working having worked on hit Disney projects such as The Avengers, Wreck-It Ralph, Muppets Most Wanted, Maleficent, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, amongst many others. He recently completed work on Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest film Encanto.

“As a wonderful human being and mentor to aspiring young artists, John possessed the rarest kind of passion, generosity, and skill from which all of us can only feel supremely lucky to have benefitted,” the school’s head of jazz, Nick Smart, said in a statement.

Born on March 28, 1961, in Plymouth, Devon, England, Thomas as a youngster was a chorister at Exeter Cathedral, then studied at Trinity College and at Goldsmiths College at the University of London. He recently conducted for Christine McVie, Diana Ross, Michael Buble, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. In 2004, Thomas was awarded an Honorary Associateship from the Royal Academy of Music, where he had taught jazz aural and transcription before leaving to pursue opportunities in Hollywood.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of John Ashton Thomas.

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