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Carlisle Floyd

Composer, Librettist


1926 – 2021

Inducted in 2015


Carlisle Floyd is one of the foremost composers of opera in the US today, with a career spanning over 50 years. Born in 1926, Floyd earned a bachelor and master of music degree in piano and composition at Syracuse University. He began his teaching career in 1947 as part of the piano faculty at Florida State University, eventually becoming a professor of composition. It was at FSU that he wrote his first nine operas, including his most popular,Susannah (1953–54).

Dozens of regional companies have mounted Floyd’s works including the New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Houston Grand Opera.
In 1976, Floyd co-founded the Houston Opera Studio, a training program for young professional singers and repertory coaches.

He has also gained increasing attention for his non-operatic works. Floyd’s orchestral song cycle, Citizen of Paradise (1984), was recently performed by Suzanne Mentzer. He was commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association to complete a large-scale work for chorus, bass-baritone soloist, and orchestra titled A Time to Dance (1993).

In 2009, international pianist Daniell Revenaugh worked with Floyd to record his Piano Sonata on the Steinway that graced the White House during two presidencies. His works are among the most performed operas by American composers.  

Floyd died on September 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, at the age of 95.