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Charles Floyd

Black and white photo of Charles Floyd sitting at a piano, holding a conductor's baton.


As a conductor, Charles Floyd has been heard in concert with more than 500 orchestras since 1991, during which time his work at the podium caught the special attention of conductors James DePriest and Seiji Ozawa. His appearances include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Houston, San Fransisco, and Oregon symphonies, and the Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, and Baltimore symphony orchestras. He has also appeared with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Aukland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Wellington in New Zealand, Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, and BBC Symphony Orchestra. He made his debut with the Brooklyn Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in July 2004, and in 2010 debuted with the Holland Symfonia at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. His programs include the standard classical literature from the Baroque era through the 21st century, as well as alternative orchestral repertoire ranging from film scores to a wide range of world musical styles. In 2022, he conducted the Los Angeles premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning composition Voiceless Mass by Native American composer Raven Chacon.

Floyd is an annual guest conductor at the Boston Pops. Since 1993 his performances have included Gospel Night at Pops at Boston’s Symphony Hall, a program which features orchestral classics as well as a 120-voice gospel chorus. His work in Boston’s 1996 season 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 the soloist in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with conductor Keith Lockhart. His programs have featured a diverse array of artists such as the Metropolitan Opera’s Grace Bumbry, William Warfield, and Renée Fleming. He has also performed with Sting, Elton John, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Holliday, Daryl Coley, Sergio Mendes, Nancy Wilson, Earth Wind & Fire, Take 6, CeCe Winans, Chris Botti, and Stevie Wonder. In 1998 he was music director for the nationally broadcast PBS holiday 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 has produced such projects as the multiple Grammy Award-winning tribute to Nat King Cole entitled Unforgettable, With Love; the Emmy Award-winning PBS Great Performances concert video of the same title; and the Grammy-winning releases Take a Look and Stardust.

His compositions range from chamber music to large orchestral and vocal works. A tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, One Man’s Dream for narrator and orchestra, was commissioned and premiered by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in 2001. His Four Spirituals for soprano and orchestra premiered at Boston’s Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in 1995, and his oratorio Hosanna for gospel chorus and orchestra also premiered there in 2000. His Piano Concerto No. 6 premiered with New England’s Cape Anne Symphony in 2012 and his Cello Concerto had its Symphony Hall premiere in 2013.

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