Robert Lyall, General Director Emeritus

In the realms of symphony and opera, Robert Lyall has pursued an active conducting career launched as a winner of the American Symphony Orchestra League’s National Conducting Competition. This achievement brought Lyall a fellowship to the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival and the tutelage of Dr. Richard Lert. Soon after, Lyall went to Amsterdam to study with the celebrated Russian maestro, Kyril Kondrashin and garnered support from the Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundations for subsequent graduate studies for his Ph.D. degree.

During the course of Lyall’s career, he has served as General and Artistic Director of six organizations: The Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Oak Ridge Symphony, the Knoxville Opera Company, the Mississippi Opera, Michigan’s Opera Grand Rapids, and completed his twenty-third season with the New Orleans Opera last year prior to becoming General Director Emeritus (1998-2021). His guest conducting performances stretched from Russia, Italy, Spain, Mexico, the Carnegie Hall of Amsterdam and to Turkey where he spent several seasons as a Principal Guest Conductor for the Istanbul State Opera.

In 2017, Robert Lyall was knighted by the French government with the title “Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.”