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 (FLO). Now in its ninth season, FLO 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 recent production of L’elisir d’amor 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.”
Prior to the pandemic, Floriano led a critically acclaimed performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra and Festival Singers, and toured Spain with the Geneseo Chamber Singers in concerts in Madrid, Burgos, Zaragoza, and Barcelona. Of a recent performance of Louise Farrenc's Symphony No. 1 with the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, 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 leaped into the Hochstein Performance Hall."
Maestro Floriano has recently created a series of popular video podcasts on historic opera recordings of the past century as well as a series of interviews with some of America’s top opera personalities, called Behind The Curtain, all of which can be found on the FLO's YouTube channel. Upcoming highlights of Floriano’s 2021-22 season include a new production of The Barber of Seville as well as a new choral commission with composer Jocelyn Hagen and a European concert tour with the Geneseo Chamber Singers.
Floriano spent nine seasons at the Brevard Summer Music Festival as Resident Conductor for this renowned orchestral training institute where he led the Brevard Symphony Orchestra as well as the top student orchestra, and has been a guest conductor with the Rochester and Buffalo Philharmonic orchestras. He has also served as Associate Conductor and Chorus Master of the Janiec Opera Company and 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 Williams’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 and the National Association for Music Education. Additionally, Dr. Floriano has published an article on the life and work of Jerome Kern in the Encyclopedia of Broadway and American Culture.
Recently named a SUNY Distinguished Service Professorship by the SUNY Board of Trustees, Floriano is 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.