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Conductor, pianist, and composer CHARLES FLOYD began studying piano at age four, gave his first solo recital at age nine, and by age 20 had been heard in solo recital, chamber music, and concerto performances throughout the United States and Spain. Floyd earned degrees in piano performance from the Conservatory at Oberlin College, the University of Louisville, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. His teachers have included pianists Joseph Schwartz, Lee Luvisi, Aube Tzerko, and Howard Karp.

Among Floyd's many honors are awards and grants from the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Louis Sudler Foundation of Chicago, and the National Chopin Competition of New York's Kosciuszko Foundation.

Floyd has appeared as both soloist and conductor in pops concerts with more than 500 orchestras nationwide, including the San Francisco Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and the Boston Pops Orchestra. Since 1993 his performances have included the annual "Gospel Night at Pops" at Boston's Symphony Hall and Esplanade Pavilion as well as a 1996 PBS telecast of "Evening at Pops," and critically acclaimed performances of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with conductor Keith Lockhart. Floyd has also enjoyed an 11-year partnership with Natalie Cole, including her most recent Grammy-nominated release, Stardust.

Floyd's compositions include chamber music, art songs, gospel music, and two operas. His "Four Spirituals" for soprano and orchestra was premiered at Boston's Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in 1995, and his "Gospel Cantata" premiered in 2000.