Carlisle Floyd Centennial To Celebrate The American Composer's Legacy In 2026/2027

This multi-year centennial celebration features partnerships with Houston Grand Opera, Boosey & Hawkes, the University of Houston, and more.

By: Jun. 05, 2024
Carlisle Floyd Centennial To Celebrate The American Composer's Legacy In 2026/2027
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The newly formed Carlisle Floyd Centennial has announced an initiative to celebrate the late iconic American composer with international productions, concerts, events, programs, and performances leading up to the 100th anniversary of his birth, June 11, 2026 and continuing that entire season. Though Floyd passed away in 2021, his compositions are at the heart and foundation of American opera, including works such as Susannah, Of Mice and Men, and Cold Sassy Tree. This multi-year centennial celebration features partnerships with Houston Grand Opera, Boosey & Hawkes, the University of Houston, Florida State University, and The South Caroliniana Library to coordinate with musicians, scholars, opera companies, and other organizations from around the globe to explore and appreciate Floyd's oeuvre, including his operas as well as choral and orchestral works. 

Overseen by Executive Director conductor Christopher Ray, who served as Floyd's assistant, the Carlisle Floyd Centennial is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the composer's remarkable legacy. Jane Matheny, Floyd's niece, serves as Chairman of the Board, with Board members Henry Fulmer, Jerry Henry, and Michael McGinley. 

Christopher Ray says, "Carlisle was an incredibly influential figure in my life. He was a mentor, friend, colleague, and a brilliant musician and storyteller. It's an honor to be part of this Centennial celebration, working alongside the many composers, conductors, directors, and singers who have benefitted from Carlisle's dedication to American opera—not to mention his wonderful operas. We all have an extraordinary opportunity to come together and celebrate his legacy by taking on the mantle of sharing his music with the next generation of artists.. I look forward to seeing what we create together."

As part of its mission, the Carlisle Floyd Centennial will support opera companies, presenters, universities, museums, and artists in programming Floyd's work. The organization will also assist in the installation of exhibits internationally, produce a documentary series, release new and remastered recordings and promote recordings that are now available to stream for the first time, and support Floyd-related educational initiatives.

Members of the Carlisle Floyd Centennial Leadership Committee are Chair David Gockley, former General Director of Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera and co-founder with Floyd of the Houston Opera Studio; Khori Dastoor, General Director and CEO of Houston Grand Opera; Andrew Davis, Dean of the University of Houston College of the Arts; Steven Lankenau, Senior Vice President of Boosey & Hawkes; and Todd Queen, Dean of Florida State University College of Music.

The Carlisle Floyd Centennial has also formed an Honorary Committee of many of today's leading opera stars, directors, conductors, and administrators in support of the Centennial. The Honorary Committee is chaired by composer Jake Heggie, whom Floyd mentored. 

Jake Heggie says, “Carlisle Floyd was as central and essential to the creation of a distinctly American style of opera as Britten was to English opera and Verdi to Italian opera. The flourishing of new American opera today can be traced directly to Carlisle's groundbreaking, beautiful work.” 

Also on the Honorary Committee is HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers who had a more than 20 year creative partnership with Floyd, as well as Mark Adamo, John Adams, Jamie Barton, David Bennett, Angel Blue, Janai Brugger, Joyce Castle, James Conlon, Catherine Cook, John Corigliano, John DeMain, Ian Derrer, Joyce DiDonato, Gordon Getty, Rod Gilfry, Christine Goerke, Susan Graham, Denyce Graves, Anthony Dean Griffey, Nancy Gustafson, Jake Heggie, Jennifer Higdon, Soloman Howard, Brandon Jovanovich, Susanne Mentzer, Ailyn Pérez, Kevin Puts, Patricia Racette, Samuel Ramey, Todd Schultz, Matthew Shilvock, Frederica von Stade, and Francesca Zambello.

To learn more about the Carlisle Floyd Centennial and performances of Floyd's works being presented around the world, visit


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