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 (DAAD), he further studied composition and conducting at the Hochschule der Künste 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. In 1988, Lorin Maazel appointed him Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Following this tenure, he returned to Europe where he made his conducting debut in Aachen in a critically acclaimed production of Alban Bergs’ Lulu. In the ensuing seasons, contracts in Germany and then, internationally, accrued.