Having long held a fascination for new music, he has performed premieres of more than fifty new works for viola, many of which were commissioned by or written for him. His solo CD, Viola Aotearoa, featuring music for viola by New Zealand composers, was released in 2002 on the Atoll label. His playing on this disc was described in The Strad as “brilliant and differentiated.” As a member of the contemporary music duo The Irrelevants, he and saxophonist Carrie Koffman have commissioned and premiered many new works. Their “excellent playing” of several new works in a recent New York recital was noted in The Strad, and their CD, Dialogues, has been well-received. In March 2010, the Chihara Trio (with Anthony Costa, clarinet, and Enrico Elisi, piano) performed its New York debut recital in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; according to the New York Concert Review, “Deighton’s technical aplomb and precision were very impressive.”
Other chamber music collaborations include those with the American String Quartet and the New Zealand String Quartet, and with musicians outside the traditional classical field such as the Mäori (Taonga Pūoro) instrumentalist Richard Nunns. He performs regularly with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Many of Deighton’s solo and chamber music performances have been broadcast on U.S., European, and Australasian radio. He is a National Recording Artist for Radio New Zealand and a former member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
A committed teacher, Deighton has received several teaching awards, including the Pennsylvania-Delaware String Teachers Association’s String Teacher of the Year, and the Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State, where he teaches viola, chamber music, viola literature, pedagogy, orchestral excerpts classes, and directs the Penn State Viola Ensemble. His former students hold positions in professional orchestras and on the faculties of music schools in the United States and overseas. Recent teaching engagements include master classes throughout the United States, Europe, and in South and Central America. His articles have appeared in such publications as Strings, American String Teacher, Journal of the American Viola Society, New York Violist, and Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Viola Society. He is a board member of New York Viola Society and has formerly served on the board of the American Viola Society. “ViolaFest,” an event he directed at Penn State, involved more than 200 violists from across North America and abroad. The Penn State Viola Ensemble, which he founded and directs, has given numerous performances, including recent appearances on New York Viola Society Collegial Concerts, where they presented four world premieres. Deighton has appeared at four International Viola Congresses as recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestra, and as master class presenter and panelist.
He has been associated with a number of music festivals, including the International Musical Arts Institute in Fryeburg, Maine, which he served for a time as Artistic Director. Other festivals at which he has appeared include the Killington Music Festival (VT), the Pierre Monteux Festival (ME), the Gold Coast Music Festival (CA), Music at Penn’s Woods (PA), the Dublin International Symphonic Festival (Ireland), the Adam New Zealand Festival of Chamber Music, the ASM Festival (Panama), and Rencontres Musicales Internationales des Graves (France).