Dr. Diane Phoenix-Neal


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Associate Professor, Viola

Violist Diane Phoenix-Neal enjoys a vibrant teaching and performing career. She performs nationally and internationally as a collaborative chamber musician and as a soloist, and her performances have taken her to concert venues and music festivals throughout the world to four continents, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Banff Centre, Bowdoin International Music Festival and the festivals of Evian and Spoleto. In France, she served as both the principal solo violist of Orchestre de Picardie and as violist of Quatuor Joachim. Her sound is described as “rich and sumptuous,” and “priceless as it was memorable” (Cultural Voice of North Carolina), and she is a longstanding principal performer and soloist with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival as well as a collaborative performing artist and faculty member with the Eastern Music Festival. 

Originally from North Carolina, she received her training from the Juilliard School as a student of William Lincer and the Juilliard Quartet, from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, after a ten-year career as a performer and teacher in Portugal and France. An active member of the American Viola Society, she is passionate about teaching and exploring the broad kaleidoscope of viola repertoire to perform and introduce to her students.  

A champion of new music for viola and of music by underrepresented composers, her recitals and commissioning projects featuring contemporary music for viola have been featured at James Madison University’s Contemporary Music Festivals, the Northwestern University New Music Conference, the University of Wyoming, International Viola Congresses in Australia (IVC 35) and Poland (IVC 41 in and IVC 43), in the Music by Women Festival and the 50th Anniversary American Viola Society Festival. Her recent CD When the Spirit Sings, in collaboration with the chamber group Musica Harmonia, features the chamber music of Gwyneth Walker and explores American spiritual melodies and themes. 

Strings Professors and Instructors

Carl Donakowski

Carl Donakowski, Cello
String Area Coordinator

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