Founder & Artistic Director
An accomplished orchestral conductor who has worked extensively in opera, Maestro Gerard Floriano maintains a busy schedule as artistic director, music director, and guest conductor having conducted concerts in Krakow, Warsaw, Prague, Barcelona, Madrid, Florence, Rome, Vienna, Salzburg and Leipzig, as well as in many of America’s premier concert halls including NYC’s Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Baltimore’s Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and Buffalo’s Kleinhans Music Hall. He is the visionary and creative force behind Finger Lakes Opera. Now in its sixth season, Finger Lakes Opera has become a glimmering treasure on the western New York cultural scene. “Finger Lakes Opera is one of the most vibrant arts organizations in western New York. Their level of artistry rivals the very best regional opera companies in the country.” (Anthony Dean Griffey, operatic tenor and professor of voice at the Eastman School of Music). Music critics have been effusive in their praise as well: 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“ and the 2015 production of L’elisir d’amore garnered similar acclaim from Rochester City Newspaper, “….Musical director and Finger Lakes Opera artistic director Gerard Floriano paced the whole show to perfection, and the orchestra…had every Donizettian detail in place.”
Upcoming highlights of 2018-2019 include a new production of Die Fledermaus at Finger Lakes Opera as well as a return to Europe to lead the Geneseo Chamber Singers in a concert tour of Spain and Portugal. This season also marks Maestro Floriano’s third as Music Director of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. Of the RCO’s recent performance of Louise Farrenc’s Symphony No. 1, music critic David Raymond wrote… “Floriano and the RCO presented this rare piece splendidly and with such palpable enthusiasm that you’d think it had been in the musicians’ repertoire for years. The tempos were well judged, and the music practically leapt into the Hochstein Performance Hall.”
Recent guest conducting engagements include the philharmonic orchestras of Buffalo and Rochester as well as the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra. Floriano spent nine seasons at the Brevard Summer Music Festival as Resident Conductor for this renowned orchestral training institute. He has also served as the Director of the Conductor’s Institute at Opera Viva! in Verona, Italy. His imagination and commitment to family programming includes original productions integrating music history with contemporary culture such as his trilogy of original children’s concerts based upon John William’s music from the Harry Potter motion picture series. His reputation as an innovator and an expert at training musicians of all ages has been recognized by the League of American Orchestras. Additionally, Dr. Floriano has published an article on the life and work of Jerome Kern in the Encyclopedia of Broadway and American Culture.
Floriano is currently Chair of the Department of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the State University of New York at Geneseo where he received the coveted SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity. 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.
Growing up in Orchard Park, a suburb of Buffalo, New York, Gerry’s multiple talents emerged early. He excelled at sports, performed on stage, played the organ and sang in the choir at St. Joseph’s Cathedral; during the summer, he worked on the stage crew at Chautauqua Institution’s famed Amphitheatre, where he learned to make a mean stir fry from the Metropolitan Opera’s principal horn player. When not busy with musical endeavors, Gerry is an active gardener and amateur landscape architect, runner, and he travels with his wife, Joan, to see their three accomplished children perform; he continues to indulge his culinary interests by baking different varieties of breads and pizza. He is happiest celebrating life and family, whether on the podium or with Joan and their children (when they decide to come home). He enjoys reading anything from Hemingway to Ludlum to biographies about great leaders, while enjoying the aroma of baking garlic and pesto bread.