|Born||February 22, 1882
|Died||September 3, 1927
|Education||New England Conservatory of Music|
|Known for||Castle Agrazant (opera), founding Cincinnati Opera|
Ralph Lyford (February 22, 1882-September 3, 1927) was an American composer and conductor. He and rose to prominence as the managing director of the Cincinnati Opera and as a 20th-century advocate for opera to be written and performed in English.
He was married to Ella Gillis, a ballet dancer.
Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, he began studies at age 12 and 6 years later graduated from Boston's New England Conservatory of Music Lyford was a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, and studied under Arthur Nikisch in Leipzig.
Ralph Lyford assisted Claude Debussy in preparing his Le martyre de Saint Sébastien for its premiere. He served as assistant conductor in the US for the San Carlo Opera Company under the management of Henry Russell. Lyford was associate conductor of the Opera Company of Boston from 1908–1914, working as a member of Max Rabinoff's staff and for a short time assisted in the opera department at the New England Conservatory. Later he conducted 3 seasons from 1912-1915 of over 200 presentations of operas with the Aborn Opera Company.
He was hired in 1916 to organize the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and served as the head of that program. In 1920, he founded the Cincinnati Opera, which is the 2nd oldest Opera in the United States. In 1925, he was appointed associate conductor under Fritz Reiner. During his tenure, he produced and conducted 234 performances of 30 operas including Martha, Hänsel and Gretel, and Lohengrin.
During his tenure at the Cincinnati Opera Company Lyford also mentored John Jacob Niles. Niles said, "Ralph Lyford was a great conductor, teacher, humorist and accompanist. He helped me greatly with the problems I had in playing accompaniments." 
Important Events in the life of Ralph Lyford
|1894-1900||Studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, graduates 1900|
|1908-1914||works as assistant conductor of the Opera Company of Boston|
|1916||Hired to organize the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music|
|1916-1927||works in Cincinnati at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music|
|1920||Founded the Summer Opera Association, progenitor of the Cincinnati Opera|
|1925||Appointed associate conductor of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music|
|1926||won a Bispham Memorial Medal Award for Castle Agrazant (opera)|
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- "Photo of Ralph Lyford, Ass't Conductor, Boston Opera -- with Mrs. R. Lyford (Ella Gillis) of Ballet".
- Music Educators National Conference (U.S.), JSTOR (Organization) (1922). Music supervisors journal.. Music Educators National Conference. Retrieved 2009-04-06.