The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

Carlisle Floyd in residence at CCM

by Janelle Gelfand (

The eminent American composer Carlisle Floyd will be at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music next week for master classes and workshops with students. And on Wednesday night in Patricia Corbett Theater, he will collaborate with pianist George Darden and CCM singers to explore some of the lesser-known repertoire of his canon.

The free, non-ticketed event includes excerpts from “Cold Sassy Tree,” “Wuthering Heights,” Bilby’s Doll (1975), “Willie Stark,” and more.

“Students will have a real intense master class with an American treasure,” says opera chair Robin Guarino. “And George Darden is a pianist who has played with James Levine, at the Vienna Philharmonic, in Salzburg and he’s fantastic.”

More than any other American composer, Floyd has told the story of the American experience in his operas. He found his subjects in rural Tennessee, the Central Valley in California and in Salem, Mass., and evoked American life with a musical language that is gripping and lyrical.

Last year, while in town for CCM’s performances of “Of Mice and Men,” Floyd noted, “My teacher (Ernst Bacon) was of that first generation of Americans after World War I, people like Aaron Copland and Roy Harris, who felt that it was about time we created our own national art.”

Of his 12 operas, Floyd’s “Susannah” (1955), his first big success, and “Of Mice and Men” (1970) are among the top six most-performed American works, according to Opera America. And he is still writing: His “Cold Sassy Tree” was premiered at Houston Grand Opera in 2000.


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