Arts & Entertainment and Human Resources

Performing arts leader moves on after 26-year run

January 9, 2015
| By Pat Evans |
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Performance arts leader moves on after 26-year run
Robert Lyall. Courtesy Opera Grand Rapids

The long-time leader of a performing arts organization will step down later this year.

Opera Grand Rapids said this week that Artistic Director Robert Lyall will resign after February’s “Noah’s Flood.”

Lyall has been with Opera Grand Rapids for 26 years, joining the organization in 1989. He also joined the New Orleans Opera Association as general and artistic director in 1998. He has held both positions since 1998.

He is leaving Grand Rapids to focus solely on the development of opera in New Orleans.

“We are fortunate to have been blessed with Robert’s knowledge and exceptional talent for so many years,” said Win Irwin, trustee, Opera Grand Rapids. “His work has been instrumental in bringing high-quality opera to West Michigan.”

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Opera Grand Rapids, founded in 1967, will assemble a search committee to find a replacement.

“We have big goals for the company and want to see this community continue to benefit from its dynamic offerings,” said Daniel DeWitt, board president, Opera Grand Rapids. “We’ll look for a candidate who can further develop the rich artistic community here in West Michigan.”

Robert Lyall

Lyall earned a doctorate in musicology and composition and a master's degree in composition from the University of North Texas.

In 1998, Lyall made his Carnegie Hall debut with the New England Symphony.

In 2007, Lyall received recognition for the “Night for New Orleans” gala, which became the largest operatic event in New Orleans history. Placido Domingo performed with an invitation from Lyall.

He was awarded a Creative Achievement Award by the New Orleans Big Easy Awards and a Special Achievement Award at Opera America’s 2007 national conference.

He has served as the general director of the Knoxville Opera and was elected to the Knoxville Opera Hall of Fame in 2007.

Lyall has conducted with the Moscow Philharmonic, been part of the music faculty at the University of Houston and guest lectured at the Instituto Alllende in Mexico.

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