William Dehning, long-time USC Thornton Choral chair, 1942-2017
Choral conductor and USC Thornton alumnus William Dehning (MA ’67, DMA ’71, choral), who led the department of Choral & Sacred Music as chair from 1992 to 2007, passed away on June 23, 2017. A native of Minnesota, Dehning studied with Ingolf Dahl, Walter Ducloux, Charles C. Hirt, Halsey Stevens and James Vail at USC before later being recruited to lead the program by Thornton faculty member and noted choral composer Morten Lauridsen.
During his 15-year tenure at Thornton, Dehning made many appearances at American Choral Directors Association conferences with the USC Chamber Choir, regularly worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and collaborated with German choral director Helmuth Rilling. Dehning and his wife, Erin Colwitz, relocated to Marquette, Michigan, following his retirement and he continued to present choral masterclasses and clinics in his later years.