Robert Lyall is widely known as a conductor of opera, symphony, ballet, and musical theater and as a creative Artistic Director and producer. Named General and Artistic Director of New Orleans Opera in 1998, he has also served as General Director and as Artistic Director of Opera Grand Rapids in Michigan from 1989 to 2015. Mr. Lyall has been frequently recognized for artistic excellence in these and other positions he has held: Music Director of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, General Director of the Knoxville Opera, and Artistic Director of the Mississippi Opera. In addition, Mr. Lyall served as one of the International Guest Conductors of the Istanbul State Opera in Turkey from 1998-2001.
During 2007 Mr. Lyall gained special recognition following the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the City of New Orleans. Placido Domingo accepted his invitation to join the NIGHT FOR NEW ORLEANS GALA in March 2006 to help re-launch the city’s arts seasons. Numerous opera celebrities, such as Denyce Graves, Frederica von Stade, Richard Leech, Paul Groves, Elizabeth Futral, and many others, joined Domingo in this grand affair held in the New Orleans Arena. The Night for New Orleans Gala became the single largest operatic event in the history of New Orleans, the city that boasts the longest operatic heritage on the North American continent (since 1796). As a result of this success, Mr. Lyall was recognized with a Creative Achievement Award by New Orleans’ Big Easy Awards and Mr. Lyall along with the New Orleans Opera board and staff received a Special Achievement Award at Opera America’s 2007 national conference. In May 2007, Mr. Lyall was also elected to the Knoxville Opera Hall of Fame for the role that he played in the development of that organization.
Mr. Lyall made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1998 with the New England Symphonia and European guest appearances include performances of Giselle for Italy’s Arena of Verona, the Bulgarian State Opera’s tour of the Netherlands (Verdi’s Nabucco), and his 2002 Russian debut at the Rostov State Musical Theatre with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Mr. Lyall’s production of Madama Butterfly was nominated for Russia’s leading arts award, “The Golden Mask,” for which he also conducted performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2003. Mr. Lyall returned to the Rostov State Musical Theatre in June 2006 to conduct Madama Butterfly for their 75th Anniversary Festival. Mr. Lyall has transcribed the English-language score of Thomas Pasatieri’s opera The Seagull into the original Russian of Chekov’s celebrated play for the opera’s planned Russian premiere. Recent guest performances include Faust for the Cleveland Opera and New York’s Chautauqua Festival, The Three Maestros Gala concert with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, productions of Menotti’s The Medium, Gluck’s L’ile de Merlin, and Stepleton’s The Awakening for Music at Madewood (2007, 2008, and 2010), Don Giovanni for Opera Carolina (2008), and Verdi’s Ballo in Maschera, Donizetti’s Rita, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann for Martina Arroyo’s operatic institute, Prelude to Performance, in New York City.
Performance highlights for Mr. Lyall include a production of Mozart’s Abduction From the Seraglio at Istanbul’s Topkopei Palace in honor of the 700th Anniversary of the founding of the Ottoman Empire; the world premiere (Knoxville Opera) of Kenton Coe’s opera Rachel; the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s opera, Pontalba, commissioned for the 2003 bicentennial celebration of the Louisiana Purchase; a production of the American classic, Susannah, by Carlisle Floyd, whose telecast regionally was underwritten by the Alcoa Foundation; the Russian “Golden Mask” awards; the Arena of Verona (Italy) production of Adam’s Giselle; the mounting of Wagner’s Ring Cycle with New Orleans Opera (Gotterdammerung was postponed due to Katrina); and “Big Easy” Classical Arts Awards for New Orleans Opera productions of Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire (2001), Wagner’s Die Walkure (2002), Puccini’s Turandot (2003), Mozart’s Don Giovanni (2004), Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann (2005), Wagner’s Siegfried (2006), Puccini’s Il Trittico (2007), Verdi’s Rigoletto (2008), and two of the city’s awards in 2009 for productions of Puccini’s Tosca and the Placido Domingo Gala that opened the renovated Theatre for the Performing Arts. Additional “Big Easy” awards include The Magic Flute (2010), Il Trovatore (2011), Salome (2012) Madama Butterfly (2013), and Rusalka (2014). Mr. Lyall has enjoyed particular success with “grand” arena productions of Verdi’s Aida and Bizet’s Carmen in both Michigan and Tennessee.
Other notable engagements include the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Seattle Opera, Chautauqua Opera Festival, and Akron Opera. Symphonic engagements also include the Las Palmas Symphony, Guadalajara Symphony, Guanajuato Symphony, The New World Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Prince George Philharmonic, the Ashville Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Pueblo (CO) Philharmonic, Southeast Kansas Philharmonic, and Victoria Symphony. Mr. Lyall has led ballet productions for the Dallas Ballet, Fort Worth Ballet, San Antonio Ballet, Corpus Christi Ballet, Chattanooga Ballet, and the Oak Ridge Ballet.
Mr. Lyall was a winner of the American Symphony League’s National Conducting Auditions and was a Conducting Fellow with that organization during which time he studied with Richard Lert (Orkney Springs/Shenandoah Valley Festival). He later studied in Amsterdam with Kyril Kondrashin, conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic. He was also the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (“Performance Practices in the Music of Beethoven”) and was recognized by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation for his work in composition. Mr. Lyall studied at the University of North Texas where he earned a Ph.D. in Musicology and a Master of Music degree in Composition. He has served on the music faculty of the University of Houston-Victoria and as a guest lecturer at the Instituto Allende in Mexico. He is widely known as a judge for national and international instrumental and vocal competitions and as a lecturer on opera. Mr. Lyall for many years led lecture tours for the International Council for Cultural Exchange to the world’s major opera houses and summer festivals of Europe.
CURRENT AND FORMER POSITIONS
New Orleans Opera Association, General and Artistic Director, (1998 to present) Opera Grand Rapids, Artistic Director, (1989-2015)
Knoxville Opera Company, General and Artistic Director, (1982-999)
Istanbul State Opera, Guest Conductor, (1998-2001)
Mississippi Opera, Artistic Director, (1996-1999)
Victoria Symphony Orchestra (TX), Music Director, (1974-1990)
Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra (TN), Music Director, (1979-1990)
Artistic Merit Award of the Knoxville Arts Council for the world premiere of Rachel (1989) Individual Artistic Merit Award—Knoxville Arts Council (1986)
American Symphony Orchestra League National Conducting Auditions winner (1978)
ASOL Conducting Fellow Shenandoah Valley Festival– study with Richard Lert (1978)
Woodrow Wilson Fellowship honorable mention (1968)
Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music honor Society)—elected 1973
Leadership Knoxville (1991)
EDUCATION, TEACHING AND RELATED ACTIVITIES
Ph.D. in Musicology—University of North Texas (1975)
Master of Music in Composition–University of North Texas (1973)
Bachelor of Music in Performance (Oboe)—Mississippi College
Study in Amsterdam with Kyril Kondrashin, Conductor, Moscow Philharmonic (1978)
National Endowment for the Humanities study grant–“Performance Practice in the Music
of Beethoven” (1980)
Music Faculty, University of Houston Victoria (1975-1979)
Guest Lecturer, Instituto Allende–San Miguel, Mexico (1979)
Consultant to the first International Opera Workshop (now the Opava Opera Festival),
Czech Republic (1994)
Frequent judge for the Metropolitan Opera Auditions (nationwide), vocal and instrumental competitions (such as the Turkish National Vocal Competition, Corpus Christi International Concerto Competition, Southern Regional Opera Competition), and for fifteen years lecturer for International Council for Cultural Exchange tours to major opera festivals in Italy, Paris, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Budapest, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, Savonlinna and St. Petersburg, Russia
Jeanne Jaubert moved to New Orleans in 1998 to join the Louisiana Philharmonic, and she is an active solo and chamber music performer. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Rice University and both Masters and Doctoral degrees from Rutgers University, where she studied with the renowned soloist Zara Nelsova. Jeanne is a sought after teacher and has maintained a thriving private studio everywhere she has lived. Her other lifelong passion has been dance and she was (she is mostly retired now) lucky to pursue that seriously for many years alongside her musical work. She garnered many accolades in this area including the Louisiana Division of the Arts Artist Fellowship in choreography.
New Orleans trombonist Matthew Wright is a performer, composer, and pedagogue. Matthew has played all over the world in orchestras, big bands, and chamber ensembles. He has recorded with Bela Fleck and was in the first horn section to play with the band Cake. He was a soloist with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, but he was dressed as Santa Claus at the time. He has played in orchestras backing James Moody, Andy Williams, Yo Yo Ma, Randy Newman, and Placido Domingo. As a composer, Matthew has written and arranged many pieces for his own solo recitals as well as for his group, Versipel New Music. Currently, he holds positions with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and teaches at Loyola University, the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, and the University of New Orleans. His primary teachers include Jeannie Little, Matthew Vaughn, Per Brevig, Steve Norrell, and Scott Hartman.
Jack Peña, bassoon, is currently the Principal Bassoon of the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Jack began his playing the bassoon at age fourteen. Since then, he has appeared as guest Associate Principal with the Toronto Symphony and performed with the Milwaukee Symphony and Los Angeles Opera. In 2013, The New York Times hailed him for his “deft solo work” in performances at Carnegie Hall with the New York String Orchestra Seminar.
Also an active soloist, Mr. Peña most recently appeared with the Louisiana Philharmonic in 2017 playing a showpiece that required him to wear a bear costume. Other solo performances include Villa-Lobos’ Ciranda das Sete Notas with the 2016 Spoleto Festival Orchestra and multiple appearances with the Colburn Orchestra from 2013-2015.
His summers have been spent as a member of the Colorado Music Festival, Lakes Area Music Festival, Sunflower Music festival and as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Music Academy of the West, Spoleto Festival USA, and Aspen Music Festival and School.
Jack received his undergraduate degree in 2015 from the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles where he studied with Richard Beene and spent a year at Rice University’s Shepherd School where he studied with Benjamin Kamins.
Stephen Orejudos has been a member of the Louisiana Philharmonic since 2012. Previous to joining the LPO, Mr. Orejudos had been Principal Trumpet of the Southwest Michigan Symphony and 2nd /Acting Principal Trumpet of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra. Mr. Orejudos has performed as guest trumpet with the Northwest Indiana Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Green Bay Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Wichita Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, and currently serves as Principal Trumpet with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared as a soloist with the Southwest Michigan Symphony, South Bend Symphony, Michigan City Music Festival, New Philharmonic and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestras.
Mr. Orejudos is an active teacher and avid proponent of music education in the public schools. He has over 17 years of experience as a private instructor, brass sectional coach and master class clinician, and has been an instructor with the Merit School of Music in Chicago, IL and the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. Previous to moving to New Orleans, Mr. Orejudos served as Adjunct Professor of Trumpet at Indiana University South Bend. Mr. Orejudos is currently the trumpet and brass ensemble instructor at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, and is on adjunct faculty for Tulane University and the University of New Orleans. He is also involved in the community and educational projects that partner with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, helping to bring music education to the under served neighborhoods of New Orleans. Recently, he has represented the LPO at Carnegie Hall for the “Play USA” initiative, which seeks to partner orchestras nationwide for the purpose of improving student access to music education.
Mr. Orejudos holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Trumpet Performance from the Eastman School of Music, and a Master of Music Degree in Trumpet Performance from Wichita State University. His teachers have included Judith Saxton, Kevin Hartman, Mathew Lee, Larry Knopp, Charles Geyer and Barbara Butler.
Amelia Clingman graduated from UMass Amherst with a BM in violin performance, and in 2008 she completed her Master’s degree in viola performance at the New England Conservatory. She has attended the Killington, Musicorda, Heifetz, and Kneisel Hall music festivals, and served as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center from 2007-2009. During her time in Boston, she performed with various groups including the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and as a substitute with the New World Symphony. In 2014, she was named a Quarterfinalist in the 14th Primrose International Viola Competition. During the summer, Amelia is Principal Viola at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon.
As an avid chamber musician, Amelia became a founding member of the New Orleans-based Polymnia Quartet in 2015. She is also a new music enthusiast, and has taken part in many world premiere performances. In other genres, she has played with pop and rock artists, including Kanye West and Peter Gabriel. Amelia teaches violin and viola lessons privately but has also served as a teaching assistant in a range of environments, from Holyoke, MA public school system to the School for Strings Chamber Music Workshop in New York City. In recent years, she has worked in various school music programs in New Orleans, through a grant from the Jazz and Heritage Foundation.
Amelia joined the Louisiana Philharmonic orchestra in 2008 and lives in New Orleans. Teachers include Marylou Speaker Churchill, James Buswell, Ed Gazouleas, Carol Rodland, and Kathryn Lockwood.