Through his creative programming and enthusiasm for engaging audiences and musicians of all ages, Andrew Lyon has built a reputation as an exciting conductor with an eye on the future of the orchestra and its repertoire. With a love and respect for the past and present, Lyon’s concerts highlight the balance between yesterday’s classics and tomorrow’s masterworks.
Since 2006, Lyon’s concerts in the US and in Europe have included the American, European, and/or World Premiere performances of over 30 pieces of music. In 2023, his work to showcasing new works continues as Lyon becomes the Music Director of the National Contemporary Orchestra, with an eye to the future of the genre’s landscape and its international audience. Other orchestral podium highlights for Lyon have included working with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra; members of the Berlin Philharmonic; and a return invitation by Marin Alsop and James Ross to the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Lyon has also appeared as guest conductor with the Lyatoshinsky Orchestra (Kyiv), the Great Noise Ensemble of Washington, D.C., and with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra of Indiana.
As a “catalyst conductor”, Andrew has created various organizations and collaborative projects over the years. “Catalyst” highlights include his founding of The Composers Showcase (Indianapolis), the Indianapolis Music Teachers Orchestra, Arts on the Edge (Chicago, 2022-present), and the Circle City Chamber Group (Indianapolis, 2008-2012), the last two being organizations which have produced groundbreaking events that bring together top visual, culinary, and musical artists, for an all-new, all-inclusive arts experience, while also working to cultivate a fresh audience for the cities’ arts communities.
Lyon also launched the Anatevka Klezmer Band in 2019, followed in 2021 with Anatevka being named “The Official Klezmer Band of the ish! Festival” (Cincinnati). Anatevka’s children’s and all-ages concerts have been hailed for their fun and engaging presentation of the history of klezmer music (aka Jewish folk music) as it explores the origins, stylings, and traditional and contemporary repertoire of the genre that has helped define the Jewish community and cultures for over six centuries.
Still, never one to sit still, in 2020 Lyon created the Music Parenting YouTube channel, producing and hosting videos that help parents new to the music world navigate life with a young musician; and Music Appreciation+Review, which offers live online lectures covering various aspects of music and geared towards undergraduate students preparing for graduate entrance exams.
As an educator and arts advocate, Andrew’s goal is for everyone to enjoy their time with music, be it as a performer, student, or patron. In addition to helping audiences hear and appreciate great music, his work on and off the podium centers around people having an understanding of how experiencing and supporting the arts play important roles in their lives as citizens, taxpayers, and parents – particularly the cultural, economic, and developmental benefits.
In 2016, Lyon joined the faculty of Ivy Tech Community College (IN), where he restructured the Music Appreciation course to focus on helping students to become more mindful arts patrons and citizens. In addition to music history and theory, his course now includes lectures on the social and economic benefits that come from supporting the fine arts in a community; the benefits of music education and participation on mental health and development; acoustics and technology; and music therapy.
With a passion for audience cultivation and development, Lyon’s out-of-the-box marketing, fundraising and cross promotions have helped in his serving as a marketing, development, logistical, and administrative consultant for a variety of for- and non-profit organizations. Lyon joined the International Conductors’ Festival staff as Marketing & Development Coordinator for its festivals in Ukraine and the U.S., and led the ICF’s first fundraising campaign, which included hosting and producing an 18-part video series for donors and sponsors.
In 2018, Lyon 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 guaranteed the ensemble’s future for years to come.
As a saxophonist, Lyon has performed in various ensembles, including orchestral, big band, pop, musical theatre, jazz, blues, R&B, Latin, Irish, and klezmer. He has played behind Marvin Hamlish, Ben Vereen, Marvin Stamm, and Tommy Tune as a member of the Grammy-nominated University of Nevada, Las Vegas Jazz Band. Lyon has also served as saxophonist, music director, composer, and arranger for The Chicago Sound Crew (R&B) and the 65th Street Klezmorim.
Lyon earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Performance at Illinois State University, and his Masters [With Distinction] in Orchestral Conducting at Butler University under the tutelage of Richard Auldon Clark. He has had the opportunity to work with noted conductors Victor Yampolsky, Don Owens, David Epstein and Paul Vermeel, while noted mentors include Markand Thakar, Harold Weller, Takayoshi Suzuki, Harvey Felder, and Michael Schelle.