Lutenist and conductor Lyle Nordstrom has been one of the most influential musicians in early music in the last several decades, particularly in the area of education at the collegiate level. In the course of his college teaching career he has led the early music programs at Oakland University in Michigan, Clayton State College and University in Atlanta and, most recently, the University of North Texas, being nominated for a number of teaching awards at each institution. He has also taught lute at Indiana University and Oberlin Conservatory. In 2000 he was given the Binkley award by Early Music America for his work on the collegiate level and in 2009 the Paul Riedo Award by Dallas Bach Society for his contributions to early music in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. He is also known for his scholarly contributions to various early music journals as well as a book about the wire-strung bandora and articles in the New Groves Encyclopedia of Music.
Lyle’s role as a committed mentor to new generations of early music performers and enthusiasts has been a hallmark of his teaching career, and graduates of his programs, both singers and instrumentalists, have populated early music organizations in both North America and Europe. In May 2010, over twenty professional alumni from all three universities came to the University of North Texas to help celebrate his career in a performance of Bach’s Mass in b minor.
He is also well known as a founder of The Musicians of Swanne Alley, a group he directed with Paul O’Dette from 1976 to 1996, performing with them at nearly every major early music festival in the US and Europe, and contributing his performing and editing talents to recordings on Focus, Harmonia Mundi and Virgin Classics. The movie Rob Roy features music edited by Nordstrom in performances by Swanne Alley. In 1997 Lyle also founded the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra and is now the Director Emeritus.
In 2010, he retired from the University of North Texas and moved to the mountains of Western Maryland where he plans on continuing his performance and research interests as well as hiking and biking the wonderful trails of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Since moving to Cumberland, he has founded Mountainside Baroque for which he is co-director.