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Faculty & Staff Directory

Daniel Shirley

Daniel Office


Noted for his diverse repertoire, lyric tenor Daniel Shirley captivates audiences with his commanding stage presence and vocalism rich in color and character. He has been critically lauded for his performances of new operas, musical theater classics, and symphonic masterpieces.
During 2017, Shirley debuted the role of John Little in the world premiere of We Shall Not Be Moved, a new hybrid opera by Daniel Bernard Roumain, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Bill T. Jones. Part of Opera Philadelphia‘s groundbreaking O17 Festival, the work was presented to great acclaim at Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater and New York City’s historic Apollo Theater. For his European debut, he traveled with the project to the Opera Forward Festival of Dutch National Opera during March 2018.
The 2017-2018 season also brought important concert engagements throughout his home state of North Carolina: Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Easter Oratorio with the Raleigh Bach Soloists, Messiah with the Carolina Philharmonic, his debut with the Bach Cantata Series of Duke University Chapel, and a solo recital of Finzi art song at East Carolina University with pianist Catherine Garner.
Shirley has appeared in recent years with such opera companies as Kentucky Opera, Austin Opera, Madison Opera, Odyssey Opera of Boston, Boston Baroque, Opera Memphis, Michigan Opera Theater, Sugar Creek Opera, Intermountain Opera Bozeman, and New York City Opera. In concert, he has appeared as a soloist with Seattle Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Carolina Philharmonic, Lexington Philharmonic, Music of the Baroque, Firebird Arts Alliance of Charlotte, and Choral Society of Durham. His 2013 Carnegie Hall debut was with Distinguished Concerts International New York.
Shirley sings the role of Eurimaco on Boston Baroque’s Grammy-nominated recording of Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (realized and conducted by Martin Pearlman). In the Chicago area, he has been a familiar presence with Music of the Baroque under Jane Glover, having performed tenor solos in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Handel’s Israel in Egypt, for which his “articulate delivery was to the Handelian manner born” (Chicago Tribune).
Shirley trained in some of America’s most notable young artist and apprenticeship programs: those of Santa Fe Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Memphis, and Chautauqua Opera. He has been recognized in recent years by the American Traditions Competition, the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, the Anna Sosenko Trust, the George London Foundation, and the National Society of Arts & Letters.
A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Shirley received his Bachelor of Music from the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, and both his Master of Music and Doctor of Music from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
He and his wife, soprano Caitlin Shirley, reside in Greenville, North Carolina, where Shirley is a proud member of the Vocal Studies faculty of the East Carolina University School of Music.

(photo: Crawford Morgan)