Thorgy Thor—the self-taught cellist, conservatory-trained violinist and violist, and drag performer whose real name is Shane Thor Galligan—is spending a lot of time performing with orchestras. Thorgy’s unusual hybrid concert career was launched following a 2016 appearance as a contestant in season eight of the TV competition show RuPaul’s Drag Race, a stint that included a well-received violin performance. Over the last few years, Thorgy’s concert dates billed as “Thorgy Thor and the Thorchestra” have included performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and, most recently, two January dates with North Carolina’s Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, led by Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees. Thorgy notes that programs typically include everything from Tchaikovsky and Copland to Lady Gaga and Madonna: “I studied at Hartt Conservatory and Purchase Conservatory of Music. Drag was always a very large part of my artistic expression, so it was only a matter of time before it all came together.”
Caption: Backstage at the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s January 20 concert (left to right): vocalist Aryssa Burns; guest performer Thorgy Thor; Associate Concertmaster Joseph Meyer; Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees. Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.