Gilda Lyons, Composer

Composition Faculty (July 19-August 2, 2015), Wintergreen Summer Music Academy

Gilda Lyons, Composer 

Gilda Lyons, Composer 


Gilda Lyons, (b. 1975), composer, vocalist, and visual artist, combines elements of renaissance, neo-baroque, spectral, folk, agitprop Music Theater, and extended vocalism to create works of uncompromising emotional honesty and melodic beauty. Tom Strini of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel describes her "Nahuatl Hymn to the All-Mother" for treble choir (Clarion CLCD-936), commissioned by The Milwaukee Choral Artists, as "hair-raising, yet elegant [with] slides, dips, yips and yelps amid ceremonial intensity."

Recent premieres in Beijing, Tokyo, Seattle, New York, and Pittsburgh include "walk, run, fly" (voice / pre-recorded sound; The Flea, New York City), "Lady Beetle" (koto solo; Yumi Kurosawa, Torifony Hall, Tokyo), "Moonlight Suite" (chamber opera; Opera Theater of Pittsburgh), "Coney Run" (voice / piano / pre-recorded sound; Two Sides Sounding, New York City), "Hold On" (voice / piano; Adrienne Danrich, Thomas Bagwell; AIDS Quilt Song Book at Twenty), "La Novia de Tola" (piano trio; Beijing New Music Ensemble, Beijing; Finisterra Trio, Seattle; Entelechron, New York City), "Invocations" (voice / shakuhachi; Kyo-Shin-An Arts, New York City) and "rapid transit" (voices; 5 Borough Music Festival, New York City, GPR Records).

Currently writing a mainstage opera for Opera Theater of Pittsburgh inspired by the life of Rachel Carson with a libretto by Tammy Ryan, she is also completing large-scale commissions for Mirror Visions Ensemble and IonSound. Past commissions have come from The ASCAP Foundation / Charles Kingsford Fund, American Opera Projects, Amy Pivar Dances, Beijing New Music Ensemble, ComposersCollaborative Inc., Fort Greene Park Conservancy, Paul Sperry, Sweet Plantain String Quartet, and The Walt Whitman Project, among many others. Composer-in-Residencies include Vermont's New Music on the Point (2013); Seasons Music Festival in Washington State (2009-2012); and Hartford Women Composers Festival (2011).

An active vocalist and fierce advocate of contemporary music, Dr. Lyons has commissioned, premiered, and workshopped new vocal works by dozens of composers. Of her performance in Daron Hagen's "Shining Brow" (Buffalo Philharmonic/Falletta) (Naxos) David Shengold of Opera, UK writes "Gilda Lyons's clear soprano compels admiration."

Dr. Lyons serves as Artistic and Executive Director of The Phoenix Concerts, New York's "plucky Upper West Side new-music series." (The New Yorker)  Her music is published by Schott, E.C. Schirmer and Burning Sled.  She received her Ph.D. in Music Composition from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Bard College. Dr. Lyons made her professional debut as composer and vocalist with the American Symphony Chamber Orchestra in 1997, performing the world premiere of her orchestral song cycle "Feis."