Carlisle Floyd Centennial Announces Plans to Celebrate Famed Composer

By David Salazar

The Carlisle Floyd Centennial initiative will celebrate the famed composer’s 100th birthday during the 2026-27 season.

Floyd was born on June 11, 1926 and passed away in 2021, leaving behind a major legacy of American opera. Among his most renowned works are “Susannah,” “Of Mice and Men,” and “Cold Sassy Tree.”

The celebration will feature partnerships with such organizations as the Houston Grand Opera, Bossey & Hawkes, the University of Houston, Florida State University, and The South Caroliniana Library over several seasons. It will be overseen by Executive Director Christopher Ray, who was Floyd’s assistant for many years.

“Carlisle was an incredibly influential figure in my life,” Ray said in an official press release. “He was a mentor, friend, colleague, and a brilliant musician and storyteller. It’s an honor to be part of this Centennial celebration, working alongside the many composers, conductors, directors, and singers who have benefitted from Carlisle’s dedication to American opera—not to mention his wonderful operas. We all have an extraordinary opportunity to come together and celebrate his legacy by taking on the mantle of sharing his music with the next generation of artists.. I look forward to seeing what we create together.”

Among those on the organization’s leadership committee are Chair David Gockley, former General Director of Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera and co-founder with Floyd of the Houston Opera Studio; Khori Dastoor, General Director and CEO of Houston Grand Opera; Andrew Davis, Dean of the University of Houston College of the Arts; Steven Lankenau, Senior Vice President of Boosey & Hawkes; and Todd Queen, Dean of Florida State University College of Music.