Assistant 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, and the festivals of Bowdoin, Evian, and Spoleto. In France, she served as both the principal solo violist of l'Orchestre de Picardie and as violist of Quatuor Joachim, finalist at Banff International String Quartet competition, for nearly a decade. Her sound is described as “rich and sumptuous,” and she is a longstanding principal performer and soloist with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival as well as a collaborative 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, entering at the age of 15 with Sally Peck, 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 Europe. Inspirational  mentors include Scott Rawls, Juliet White-Smith, Samuel Rhodes and Joel Smirnoff. An active member of the American Viola Society, she enjoys summers performing and teaching viola and chamber music, 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 recent recitals and commissioning projects featuring contemporary music for viola have been presented at James Madison University’s Contemporary Music Festivals, the Northwestern University New Music Conference, the University of Wyoming, International Viola Congresses in Adelaide, Australia (IVC 35) and Krakow and Poznan, Poland (IVC 41 in and IVC 43), in the Music by Women Festival and the 50th Anniversary American Viola Festival. 

A recent CD in collaboration with the chamber group Musica Harmonia, 

When the Spirit Sings features the chamber music of Gwyneth Walker and explores American spiritual melodies and themes.  

Strings Professors and Instructors

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