Upon completion of studies in composition at Oberlin Conservatory, and biology at Oberlin College, Stefan Lano was a Graduate Fellow in Composition at Harvard University from which he holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Awarded a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service, he further studied composition and conducting in Berlin before beginning his professional career at the opera in Graz, Austria. An accomplished pianist, he was appointed to the Music Staff of the Vienna State Opera in 1982.
A strong believer in the German tradition of conductor formation, it was only after years of having prepared many productions as opera pianist that the notion of pursuing a career as conductor gradually materialized. Following a tenure as Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, he made his conducting debut in Aachen in a critically acclaimed production of Alban Bergsʼ Lulu. In the ensuing seasons, contracts in Germany and then, internationally, accrued. Principal among these was his engagement in 1993 to conduct the first South American production of the three-act version of Lulu at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. A version praised by the Argentine press as one of the most significant in the history of the theater, he established a collaboration with and affection for the Teatro Colón which continues to this day. The Argentine Association of Music Critics cited him as Best Foreign Conductor for his renditions of Korngoldʻs Die tote Stadt and Richard Straussʻ Salome in 1999. In 2005, at the behest of the Teatro Colón Resident Orchestra, he was named Music Director, subsequently conducting the first international tour to Mexico City presenting Pucciniʼs Turandot; national tours performing Verdiʼs Requiem; and a renowned rendition of Gustav Mahlerʼs Symphony N° 2 for the thirty year commemoration of the victims of Argentinaʼs military junta.
In the United States, Stefan Lano has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera and at the theaters of Detroit, Cincinnati and Philadelphia. The renown gained for the clarity and expressivity of his renditions of twentieth century opera led to an invitation to conduct concert performances of Alban Bergsʼ Wozzeck with the Montréal Symphony for which he was cited with an OPUS Award for Best Concert of the Season in 2002. His reengagement for the following season to conduct Rousselʻs Bacchus et Ariane and Bartokʻs Bluebeardʻs Castle resulted in a second consecutive OPUS Award.
In November of 2009, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the American Composers Orchestra in a program of first performances by American composers. As for his own compositions, it was thanks to the invitation from Music Director Juozas Domarkas that he was to conduct the premiere of his Sinfonie N° 3 with the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Orchestra in 2004.
A regular guest at the Dresden State Opera since 2007, he conducted a universally acclaimed rendition of Hans Werner Henzeʻs LʻUpupa in 2009 as well as the Dresden productions of Moussorgskyʼs Boris Godunov and Jake Heggiesʼ Dead Man Walking.
As of 2012, he has been appointed Music Director of the Teatro SODRE in Montevideo, Uruguay and of the Mendoza Symphony Orchestra in Mendoza, Argentina. He will return to the Teatro Argentino conducting the Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky together with Richard Straussʼ Eine Alpensymphonie.
In February of 2013, he conducts a new production of Tristan und Isolde at the Göteborg Opera in Sweden.