Concert III, 2017-2018 season
Conductor, pianist, and composer Charles Floyd began studying piano at age four and by age 20 had been heard in solo recital, chamber music, and concerto performances throughout the United States and Spain. His mentors include pianists Joseph Schwartz, Aube Tzerko, Howard Karp, Lee Luvisi, and Misha Dichter. He has received numerous awards and grants, including the Aspen School of Music Fellowship, Oberlin Conservatory’s Rudolf Serkin Award, and the National Chopin Competition of New York's Kosciuszko Foundation.
Floyd has conducted more than 500 orchestras, including major orchestras worldwide. His programs include standard classical literature from the Baroque era through the 20th century, as well as film scores and world music.
Floyd is an annual guest conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra. His performances have included "Gospel Night at Pops," a program featuring orchestral classics and a large gospel chorus. His work there also included a PBS telecast of "Evening at Pops," featuring Patti LaBelle and Edwin Hawkins in a program of gospel music and critically acclaimed performances as pianist of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with conductor Keith Lockhart. His programs have featured such diverse artists as Grace Bumbry, Sting, Elton John, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Holliday, Kirk Franklin, Doc Severinsen, Nancy Wilson, Chris Botti, Stevie Wonder, Wynona Judd, and William Warfield. He was music director for the PBS special A Cathedral Christmas with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves at The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Floyd's 11-year partnership with singer Natalie Cole included such projects as the multiple Grammy Award-winning tribute to Nat King Cole entitled Unforgettable, With Love, and the Emmy Award-winning PBS Great Performances video of the same title, as well as the Grammy-winning releases Take a Look and Stardust.
His compositions include a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, One Man's Dream, for narrator and orchestra was commissioned and premiered by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. His Four Spirituals for soprano and orchestra was premiered at Boston's Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, and his oratorio Hosanna for gospel chorus and orchestra premiered there as well. He also joined a team of conductors performing Howard Shore’s The Lord of the Rings Symphony at the request of the Oscar-winning film composer.
Photo credit: © Christian Steiner