Name: Diana Gilchristsymphonova-6091

PhD Title: An exploration of vocal portamento and musical meaning through creative practice, history, recording analysis and empirical study.

Department: Reid School of Music

Supervisors: Dr Katie Overy & Dr Kathryn Whitney




I founded Ottawaʼs Opera Lyra in 1984 and served as its first Artistic Director. In 1988 I moved to Europe to pursue a solo singing career. Here I sang several Mozart roles including: Susannah (Le Nozze de Figaro), Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and the Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte) which I performed in Vienna, Paris and Berlin. Other leading roles include Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Gilda (Rigoletto) and the title roles in The Merry Widow and The Cunning Vixen. My opera and concert career has taken me across Europe, to North America and to the Far East. I broadcast for radio and television and perform my one woman show: Mrs. Mozart and have recorded two solo CDs. I serve as Musician in Residence for the Bader International Study Centre, UK (Queen’s University, Canada) where I also enjoy lecturing and animating student musical activities.

Mrs Mozart

Research Interests

My research interests include:

  • expressive vocal gestures
  • history of vocal pedagogy
  • performance studies and vocal performance practice
  • creative practice as research
  • recording analysis
  • emotion in music


Musical Interests

• Mozart operas (especially those I’ve performed)
• Lieder (singing, listening and studying)
• Chamber music (especially string quartets)
• Archive recordings (especially voice and violin)


Invited Lectures & Conference Presentations

Oxford: Joint lecture-recital at the RMA ‘Authorship in Music’ Study Day, March 2015

Bader International Study Centre: Lecture-recital ‘What Makes Music Expressive?’, October 2014

University of Surrey: Joint lecture-recital ‘Radical Interpretations’, October 2013

University of London, Institute for Music Research: Lecture-recital ‘How Creative Can a Musical Practice Be?’, June 2013

IMHSD Hearing, Seeing, Imagining Workshop at Herstmonceux Castle: Lecture-recital ‘Between the Notes – Exploring Images and Character Through the Use of Portamento’ August, 2012

University of London, Institute for Music Research: Lecture-recital ‘Portamento and the Lyric’, June 2012

Bader International Study Centre: lecture-recitals on Lieder, Opera, Bel Canto, Canadian Art Song, Expressive Parameters in Vocal Music, Multiple Musical Interpretations, 1997 to present




Concerts: Strauss Vier Letzte Lieder, Schubert Shepherd on the Rock

Recordings: Schubert: Radical Interpretations of Ave Maria

1982 – 2015

Solo appearances with orchestras & chamber ensembles, radio & television broadcasts, recordings in North America, Europe and the Far East

1983 – 2010

Opera performances in Canada, Europe and the Far East


Funding Awarded

Isabel Bader post graduate scholarship (2011 to present)




At Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux Castle, UK (Queen’s University, Canada)

Music 102: Western Music from Napoleon to 9/11, First Year Undergraduate, Lecturer

Music 287: Opera, Second Year Undergraduate, Lecturer

Music 473: Music & Emotion, opera & film, Upper Year Undergraduate, Lecturer

Music 474: Music as Performance, Upper Year Undergraduate, Lecturer

2010 to present

Presentation skills seminars

2000 to present


1992 to present (UK)

Private voice teaching


Group and Event Organisation


Herstmonceux Castle Choir

Ladies Chamber Choir

1997 to present

Herstmonceux Castle: concerts, workshops, choir trips and joint choral events with various Cambridge and Oxford colleges



Bader International Study Centre curriculum committee