Meet Our New Artistic Director, Dr. Allison Thorp
Dr. Allison Thorp joined Womansong as Artistic Director in July 2022. She also serves as the Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC, where she conducts the Concert Choir and University Chorus, teaches conducting and choral methods, and supervises student teachers in choral music education.
“I am excited to be a part of the Womansong community!” Allison shared. “I see women’s choruses as a place to be renewed, to meet kindred spirits, to be seen and to not be invisible. We put beautiful energy out into the world through our music but also take it home within ourselves.”
An advocate for “choral activism,” Allison enhances Womansong by encouraging voices of diverse communities through our repertoire. She seeks to spread joy through music and to support and empower the members of the Womansong Village. “I think it’s important to nurture that element of human connection—it’s good for our minds, our bodies, and our music.”
Dr. Thorp earned her doctorate from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where her dissertation was a study of socially identified community choirs including the Akoma African American Women’s Gospel Chorus, Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus, and Rochester Jewish Chorale. Prior to her career in higher education, she taught choral, instrumental, and general music as a public school teacher in Kentucky and also served as Director of Music at Louisa United Methodist Church in Louisa, KY, and South Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY. Since moving to WNC in 2016, she has worked with regional organizations including the Asheville Lyric Opera, the Asheville Defiant Requiem, and the Folkmoot Festival Choir, among others.
Dr. Thorp’s research interests include social justice in music education and community building through musical performance. She lives in Waynesville with her husband, Sean; toddler, Aidan; and cat, Ella Fitzgerald.