Posted September 29, 2011

Fund for young artists honors late opera professor

Kelly & Massa Photography
The Boyer College of Music and Dance hosted a special concert in memory of opera professor John Douglas, who passed away last year after a long battle with cancer. Pictured at the event are Douglas’s family and former students, from left to right: former student Denyce Graves; son Matthew Douglas; former student Victoria Livengood; daughter Willa Rose Douglas; former student Eric Owens ‘93; wife Melissa Douglas and former student Robert Holden ‘00.

Family, friends and alumni gathered in the Temple Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Sept. 18 to celebrate the rich artistic life of John Douglas, former associate professor of voice and opera in the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Douglas, who served as the music director and conductor of Temple University Opera Theater, died last summer after a long battle with cancer. He was 54.

In recognition of Douglas’s contributions to Opera, the Boyer College of Music and Dance held a special tribute concert in his honor, featuring world-renowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, bass-baritone Eric Owens, mezzo-soprano Victoria Livengood and accompanying pianist John Moriarty.

A faculty member since 1989, Douglas directed 50 productions and brought the opera program to national prominence, garnering four prestigious National Opera Awards and receiving rave reviews for cutting edge productions. He was honored with the Temple University Faculty Award for Creative Achievement in 2006.

“Of everyone that I have studied with, John had the most profound impact upon me,” said Debra Marsch ‘65. “He truly mentored me, and so much of my teaching can be traced back to him — even the funny voices he would use in diction or coaching. He brought me into his family.”

During the event, Douglas’s long-time friend Tom Hall announced the establishment of the John T. Douglas Fund for Young Artists, which will assist Boyer’s young opera professionals as they embark on their careers. For information on how to contribute to the fund, contact Tara Webb Duey, director of development, Boyer College of Music and Dance, at