Biography

Noted for his diverse repertoire, lyric tenor Daniel Shirley captivates audiences with a 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.
The 2018-2019 season includes multiple appearances with the Bach Cantata Series of Duke University Chapel, a debut with the Lancaster Symphony in Carmina Burana, ongoing work with both the Raleigh Bach Soloists and the PaTRAM Institute of Orthodox Music, and recitals of English art song at North Carolina universities.
During 2017, Daniel 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, New York City’s historic Apollo Theater, and the Opera Forward Festival of Dutch National Opera (his European debut).
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 songs at East Carolina University.
Daniel 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.
Daniel 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).
Daniel 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, he is a graduate of the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
He and his wife, soprano Caitlin Shirley, reside in Greenville, North Carolina, where Daniel serves as Assistant Professor of Vocal Studies and Director of Opera Theater at the East Carolina University School of Music.