Office Location: Sloan Music Center B018
Office Hours: By Appointment
B.M., Opera, Temple University, summa cum laude
M.M., Opera, Temple University
MUS 50, 55, Applied Music (Non-Credit)
MUS 155, 255, 256, 355, Applied Music (Credit)
MUS 014, Opera Workshop
MUS 015, Diction
MUS 045, Voice Class
Diane Thornton has performed as a soloist with a number of opera companies and orchestras, as a chamber music artist, and as a recitalist across the United States, garnering solid accolades that include five Opera News reviews. She performed roles in eight different engagements for Piedmont Opera Theater, was repeatedly invited to sing roles for Greensboro Opera and Opera Carolina, and was a guest artist for other opera companies in the eastern United States. Combining her interest in opera with that of contemporary music, she premiered works by American composers Sam Dennison and Joseph Summer through the Billings Institute of American Music and the Contemporary Opera Company of America, respectively. Among other venues through which she has premiered American vocal works are the Carolina Composers Symposium, the Penn Composers Guild, the Belvedere Chamber Music Festival, and the Davidson College Concert Series. Contemporary pieces (along with a variety of “classical” genres) have also been featured in recitals she has offered at institutions such as the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, The ACS New Music Festival, and the Weymouth Artist Series. Even orchestral performances have sometimes involved contemporary works; but the bulk of Thornton’s orchestral engagements has been that of pre-twentieth century composers and, especially, baroque music through such organizations as the Charlotte Symphony, the New England Symphonic Ensemble in Carnegie Hall, the Kansas City Symphony, and the South Carolina Philharmonic.
In the midst of her performing career, Thornton found herself transitioning from mezzo-soprano to contralto as the result of being a breast cancer survivor.
While teaching at Davidson, Thornton has created and overseen initiatives to aid in the total musical growth of vocal students. She co-produced Bachfest ’96: a combination of performances and masterclasses that involved students and faculty from Davidson College and UNC-Charlotte, Charlotte area choruses, professional vocal soloists and instrumentalists, and the Bach Aria Group. She produced and performed in a Baroquefest at Davidson. She formed the Davidson Opera Theater Workshop (co-taught by her and Jacquelyn Culpepper) as well as a course in singing diction. She introduced a vocal performance initiative for the Royal Shakespeare Davidson Residency that grew into a production called Infinite Variety, and then served as vocal coach as Davidson students performed this program of songs with Elizabethan texts at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. In addition, she has created chamber music opportunities for vocal students in recital, encouraging dialogue between instrumentalists and singers and emphasizing the importance of collaborating with others towards the complete communication of the “marriage” of music and text. Towards a deeper understanding of such a collaboration, Thornton herself regularly offers solo recital and chamber music concerts on the Davidson campus.
“Through Davidson initiatives and courses, I continue to seek the provision of a connection between the performance of vocal music and the Liberal Arts experience.” ~Diane Thornton
Awards, Honors and Reviews
Additional Education and Teaching Experiences