Through his creative programming and enthusiasm for engaging audiences and musicians of all ages, Andrew J. Lyon has built a reputation as an exciting conductor with an eye on the future of the orchestras and repertoire. Alongside a healthy love and respect for the past and present, Lyon’s concerts highlight the balance between yesterday’s classics and today’s masterworks. Since 2006, Lyon’s concerts have included the American, European, and World Premiere performances of over 20 works, establishing himself as one of contemporary orchestral music’s strongest proponent.
Lyon recently concluded a six-year tenure as the Artistic & Music Director of the 65th Street Klezmorim – Indianapolis’ “Lively & Joyful” klezmer ensemble. During his tenure, the group saw growth artistically, in its membership (50%), and annual concert offerings. The ensemble also increased its involvement with the local community, performing at various cultural events across the Midwest. Under his leadership, Lyon also saw the establishment of the $100,000 Sandford Rosenberg Memorial Endowment, which was established to guarnteed the ensemble’s future for years to come.
Lyon also served as Artistic & Music Director of Indianapolis’ Circle City Chamber Group, an organization he created which produced groundbreaking arts event, bringing together the best of Indianapolis’ visual, culinary, and musical artists, for an all-inclusive arts experience, while also working to cultivate a new audience for Indianapolis’ arts community. As the organization’s interim executive director, Lyon grew Circle City’s online social network to include over 80,000 contacts.
In 2016, Lyon joined the faculty of Ivy Tech Community College (IN), where he restructured the Music Appreciation course syllabus to focus on teaching students to become mindful arts patrons and citizens. In addition to music history and theory, his course now includes sections on music therapy; the benefits of music and music education on mental health and development; and the social, educational, and economic benefits that come from supporting the fine and performing arts in a community.
Recent podium highlights for Lyon have included working with the Markand Thakar and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra; leading members of the Berlin Philharmonic at the Conductors Lab in Aix-en-Provence, France; and receiving a return invitation to join conductor Marin Alsop and Juilliard professor James Ross at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (2014 & 2015). Lyon has also appeared as a guest conductor with Washington, D.C.’s Great Noise Ensemble, the Lyatoshinsky Chamber Orchestra (Kiev), and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
Lyon’s passion for audience cultivation and development has led him to seek out and create new opportunities for musicians and audiences to experience music and art in new and exciting ways. In addition to his work with Circle City, another recent endeavors was creating and producing the “Composers Showcase”, where he conducted the world premiere of works by promising young composers.
As a saxophone clinician, soloist, and ensemble player (with rumors of questionable college-years experimentation in the marching baritone and pep band trumpet sections), Lyon has performed repertoire from all across the musical spectrum, including orchestral, popular, pop, musical theatre, jazz, blues, R&B, Latin, Irish, and klezmer. His time on the bandstand has found him playing behind such legendary performers as Marvin Hamlish, Ben Vereen, Marvin Stamm, and Tommy Tune while a member of the award-winning and Grammy-nominated University of Nevada, Las Vegas Jazz Band. Lyon also served as saxophonist, music director, composer, and arranger for The Chicago Sound Crew (R&B) and the 65th Street Klezmorim.
Along with his exciting concert programs, Lyon’s out-of-the-box marketing, fundraising and cross promotions, have helped in his serving as a marketing, development and administrative consultant for a variety of for- and non-profit organizations. Lyon joined the International Conductors’ Festival staff and served as its Marketing & Development Coordinator for its festivals in Ukraine and the U.S. In 2013, Lyon lead the festival’s fundraising campaign that raised over $5,000, which included $3,800 through a 30-day Kickerstarter.com campaign. The campaign was then complimented by an 18-part video series which Lyon produced and hosted.
Born into an artistically diverse family with deep Mexican and Russian/Eastern European roots, Lyon earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Performance degree at Illinois State University, and his Masters degree at Butler University under the tutelage of Richard Auldon Clark. Lyon has also had the opportunity to work with noted conductors Markand Thakar, Victor Yampolsky, Don Owens, David Epstein and Paul Vermeel. Noted mentors include JoAnn Falletta, Harold Weller, Takayoshi Suzuki, and Harvey Felder.