The American tenor, Daniel Shirley, holds a Bachelor of Music from the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, where he appeared as the Lover in Menotti’s Amelia Goes to the Ball. He graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he had sung a variety of roles as well as two significant premieres: Dino in the collegiate premiere of William Bolcom’s A Wedding, and Joe Crowell in the world premiere of Ned Rorem’s Our Town. With the university’s Pro Arte ensemble, he was honored to sing in the world premiere of John Harbison’s A Clear Midnight. He is the recipient of awards from the Anna Sosenko Trust, the National Society of Arts and Letters, Central City Opera, the Orpheus National Vocal Competition, Chautauqua Opera, and the Dayton Opera Guild. A student of Patricia Stiles, he is completing coursework for the Doctor of Music.
Known for his “tenor of lyrical allure and power” and versatility as a performing artist, Daniel Shirley is emerging as an audience favorite. Past engagements have included Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Arbor Opera Theater, Sam Polk in Susannah and Larry/Matt in The Face on the Barroom Floor at Central City Opera, where he served as a 2008 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist, as well as various engagements with Mississippi Opera and Opera Memphis as an Artist-in-Residence. As a 2009 and 2011 apprentice artist with Santa Fe Opera, he covered Gualtiero in Griselda and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. Shirley was invited by Maestro Frédéric Chaslin, composer and Chief Conductor of the Santa Fe Opera, to record the role of Edgar in his new opera Wuthering Heights with the orchestra of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia.
As a 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 resident young artist with Florida Grand Opera, Daniel Shirley performed Prunier in La Rondine, Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette (while also covering the role of Romeo), and covered Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. Of his recent performance as Tybalt, he was noted for his “his pure and solid tone.” Upcoming engagements also include his debut with Madison Opera as Acis in Acis and Galatea, and a return to Chicago’s Music of the Baroque as tenor soloist in Israel in Egypt. Other roles Shirley is adding to his repertoire include Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Nadir in Les pecheurs de perles, Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Fenton in Falstaff, Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, and the title role in Candide.
A passionate concert artist, Daniel Shirley has been lauded for his interpretations of the major works of the sacred canon. He debuted with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra during December 2009 as soloist in Haydn’s St. Nicholas Mass. He has sung Messiah with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and with choral and symphonic organizations throughout the Midwest, Elijah with the Lafayette Bach Singers, J.S. Bach’s Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244, arias) and Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Bloomington Chamber Singers, J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor (BWV 232) with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and Haydn’s Creation as a guest artist of St. Joseph College in Indiana. He also joined oboist Elizabeth Robertson for Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Ten Blake Songs on her album “Oboe Serenade”.
Daniel Shirley and his wife, soprano Caitlin Shirley, reside in Chicago.