January 19, 2021

Spotlight on Craig Terry

Is there anyone in the business busier than Craig Terry? Between an international performance career, studio recordings, and his leadership role in the Ryan Opera Center, Lyric has been proud to call this multi-talented musician part of the family for more than 16 seasons. He has served as the Jannotta Family Endowed Chair Music Director of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center since 2013, and spent 11 seasons with the company as an assistant conductor.

Craig Terry in recital with Eric Owens and Lawrence Brownlee, April 2017.

Hailing from Tullahoma, Tennessee, the American pianist has performed on concert stages around the world and won a GRAMMY Award for "Best Classical Solo Vocal Album" for the recording he made with Joyce DiDonato, Songplay. In January 2021, he returned to live performance with a trio of concerts in Spain alongside DiDonato. Throughout 2020, he was the driving creative force behind many of Lyric's digital offerings including Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter and Pasión Latina with Ana María Martínez streamed free of charge on Facebook and YouTube  as well as in the short documentary Creating The Factotum.

Craig Terry at the piano during the recording of Pasión Latina in November 2020.

Over the years, Craig has worked closely with countless members of the Ryan Opera Center Ensemble, helping them perfect their technique, advising on repertoire, and accompanying them in performance. These relationships continue long after artists leave Lyric's training program and move on to impressive international careers. He can often be seen performing with esteemed alumni like Nicole Cabell, Christian Van Horn, Susanna Phillips, and Laura Wilde, among others. He is also a frequent guest faculty member with other emerging artist programs around the world.

Craig also serves as artistic director of Beyond the Aria, a recital series presented by the Harris Theater in collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Bringing his distinctive style to the cabaret stage, he has accompanied and curated the sold-out series featuring mainstage Lyric stars and Ryan Opera Center Ensemble members performing a mix of opera, art song, Broadway standards, folk songs, jazz, and more. He has also been instrumental in putting together the Ryan Opera Center's annual sold-out fundraising gala at the Casino Club.

Craig Terry performs with members of the 2018/19 Ryan Opera Center Ensemble at the fundraising gala, Unprohibited, at the Casino Club.


Before coming to Lyric, Craig was an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera after joining its Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. He has collaborated as a chamber musician with members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchester, and the Pro Arte String Quartet. He has also performed extensively with some of the most in-demand singing artists of our time including Jamie Barton, Stephanie Blythe, Christine Brewer, Lawrence Brownlee, Renée Fleming, Christine Goerke, Susan Graham, Brian Jagde, Joseph Kaiser, Kate Lindsey, Ana María Martínez, Eric Owens, Luca Pisaroni, and Patricia Racette, among others. 

Follow Craig's musical adventures on his Twitter and Instagram  accounts and see him in Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter, Pasión Latina, Magical Music Around the World, and the Ryan Opera Center At Work series— free for a limited time on Lyric's Facebook and YouTube. To hear more, find his full discography on Spotify and wherever music is sold: Diva on Detour with Patricia Racette, As Long As There Are Songs with Stephanie Blythe, Chanson d’Avril with Nicole Cabell, and Songplay with Joyce DiDonato.

Header photo: Craig Terry during the recording of Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter in July 2020 (credit: Lyric Opera of Chicago).

All other photos: Kyle Flubacker, Todd Rosenberg, Jaclyn Simpson