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Carlisle Floyd was born on June 11, 1926. A South Carolina native, Floyd studied music at Converse College and Syracuse University before joining the piano faculty at Florida State University in 1947, a position he held for the next 30 years. In 1976, Floyd accepted the University of Houston School of Music's M.D. Anderson Professorship. He held this position until 1996.
Floyd composed myriad operatic works, including several premiered in Houston, including Bilby's Doll, Willie Stark, Cold Sassy Tree, and Prince of Players.