Founder & Artistic Director
Gerard Floriano is a regular guest conductor in Europe, having conducted concerts in Krakow, Warsaw, Prague, Barcelona, Florence, Rome, Vienna, Salzburg and Leipzig. His expertise ranges from opera to American musical theatre, including performances of over 35 full length operas including Cavalleria, La Traviata, Un ballo in maschera, Rusticana/Pagliacci, La Bohemé, Il Tritico, Don Pasquale, L’elisir d’amore, Carmen, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Die Zauberflöte, Die Fledermaus, and The Tender Land as well as Show Boat, and Candide. In addition, Dr. Floriano was invited to write an article on Jerome Kern for the Encyclopedia of Broadway and American Culture. Floriano’s colleagues respect the inspiring musical standards and exacting rehearsal efficiency that he brings to the podium. As an accomplished orchestral conductor who has worked extensively with singers, he possesses a keen understanding of the instrumental challenges and vocal demands of opera, enabling him to get exceptional results from the performers. Writing about a recent production of Madama Butterfly, Rochester “Democrat & Chronicle” music critic John Pitcher wrote “Floriano proved to be nothing less than a virtuoso conductor… He led his fine orchestra with color, precision and a welcome degree of sweep… ushering in a New Age of Opera” in Western New York.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the State University of New York at Geneseo, Gerard Floriano is the visionary force and artistic director of Finger Lakes Opera. Now in its sixth season, FLO is quickly becoming the premier summer-time opera experience for audiences in western New York and the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle described his 2014 production of Carmen as a “…passionate, sensual, once-in-a-lifetime, full-moon evening… the driving energy overwhelmed my previous memory of Placido Domingo’s Metropolitan Opera production twenty years ago.“ The August 2014 production of “L’elisir d’amore” garnered similar acclaim from the Rochester City Newspaper, “….Musical director and Finger Lakes Opera artistic director Gerard Floriano paced the whole show to perfection, and the orchestra (including several RPO musicians) had every Donizettian detail in place. Finger Lakes Opera may only be in its second year, but based on this “L’elisir d’amore,” it’ll become a highlight of the summer music scene.
A frequent guest conductor, Floriano has recently led the Rochester Philharmonic and Buffalo Philharmonic orchestras and has been named Music Director of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. Of his inaugural concert with the RCO, Rochester City Newspaper music critic David Raymond described the performance of Haydn Symphony no. 89 as “…spirited and elegant …Floriano gave a nice lift to the dance rhythms, and the small ensemble ensured that every musical detail sounded clearly.”
Floriano began his career as Director of Choral Activities at The University of Memphis, and is currently Chair of the Department of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the State University of New York at SUNY Geneseo where he received the coveted SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity. He has served as the Director of the Conductor’s Institute at Opera Viva (Verona, Italy). Other conducting positions have included fellowships at the Aspen Summer Music Festival and the Oregon Bach Festival, Resident Conductor at the Brevard Music Center and co-artistic director of Mercury Opera Rochester. Floriano and his wife, Joan, who is also a musician and performer, make their home in western New York.