Dr. Chad R. Payton, countertenor, is an Assistant Professor of Music at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. He teaches private voice instruction, English and Italian diction, French and German diction, and Vocal Pedagogy. Dr. Payton is the originator and host of the Opera Lecture Series, in which he offers lectures and public viewings of operatic masterworks to Delta State University students and community members. He has served on DSU’s Gender Studies Group, where he presented research on gender issues surrounding countertenor performance practice, and is the chair of the Department of Music’s Recruitment Committee. Dr. Payton received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of Kansas with honors.
He switched to countertenor repertoire in 2005, having made his Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center operatic debuts, as well as his off Broadway debut, as a tenor in the world premiere of Michael Ching’s opera, Corps of Discovery: A Musical Journey. Dr. Payton found success in local, regional, and national competitions, including National Association of Teachers of Singing, National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award, and Music Teachers National Association. He is a proponent of oratorio literature, often seen with regional orchestras such as the Quincy Symphony Society in Illinois, the Saint Joseph Symphony, Columbia Civic Orchestra, Odyssey Chamber Orchestra, and the University of Missouri’s Philharmonic Orchestra in Missouri. Frequent oratorio engagements include the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s B-Minor Mass, St. John’s Passion, and St. Matthew’s Passion, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. In addition, he premiered and has frequented the countertenor soloist role in Barbara Garrett’s Requiem for Broken Souls, a signature piece of Kansas City’s Artistic Advocates for Healing.
Dr. Payton serves on the Voice Faculty and as General Manager for Seagle Music Colony, the nation’s oldest young artist training program for opera and musical theatre, located in New York. Each summer he offers multiple audition classes, vocal masterclasses, and lessons, and organizes and oversees the daily rehearsal, staging, and performance schedule for six fully staged productions in eight weeks. Seagle Music Colony alumni are performing in major opera houses throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Houston Grand Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. They are frequently named national finalists and winners in national competitions such as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Dr. Payton’s doctoral dissertation is titled, A Performer’s Analysis of Lori Laitman’s Men with Small Heads and Jake Heggie’s Encountertenor, in which he examines two twentieth-century song cycles written specifically for countertenor. His performances of these pieces earned him national recognition in The American Prize Competition, in which he was named a national finalist in the art song division. He was invited to present Laitman’s Men with Small Heads at the regional NATS conference in Baton Rouge in 2012. In addition, he has commissioned and premiered several chamber works for his professional ensemble, Payton and the Pipes, featuring countertenor, clarinet, and flute, including Three Poems of Vladimir Nabokov by American composer, Jason Charney. Payton and the Pipes have been invited to perform on the 2013 Great Spaces Concert Series in Topeka, Kansas, sharing the series with internationally recognized artists such as the Vienna Boys Choir.
Dr. Chad Payton
Department of Music
Delta State University
Cleveland, MS 38733