BPO Music Director: 1998 - Present
A native of New York City, JoAnn Falletta's advanced musical training began with study of the classical guitar at the Mannes College of Music. In conducting she worked with Leonid Boletin and Frederick Hand, and later as a Master of Arts candidate with Semyon Bychkov. Her post-graduate work concluded with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School, during which time she studied under George Mester and privately with Sixten Ehrling. Along the way she was the recipient of the Stokowski, Toscanini, Ditson and Bruno Walter Awards for conducting.
Falletta's first assignment as Music Director was on the podium of the Jamaica Symphony, a diverse ensemble comprising serious students and gifted amateurs. With time the orchestra became the all-volunteer Queens Philharmonic which she directed for almost ten years.
She was then awarded the post of Music Director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra in California, followed by her appointment to the helm of the Virginia Symphony. In turn, Ms. Falletta was named Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic in 1998.
Highlights of Ms. Falletta's 2000/2001 season with the Buffalo Philharmonic include the release of three new CDs on the Naxos label (the first recording contract the orchestra has had with an international label in over twenty years), the broadcast of each of the Philharmonic's concerts on NPR's Performance Today including a live broadcast of Messiah and the televised appearance of the orchestra with violinist Mark O'Connor. Other highlights feature the premiere of Criss Cross, a marimba concerto by Barbara Kolb to be performed by Evelyn Glennie as a consortium commission involving the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony and the New Mexico Symphony. Also noteable will be Falletta's appearance as a guitar soloist with Angel Romero in Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra.
In demand as a guest conductor, Ms. Falletta's schedule during the 2000/2001 season features conducting engagements with leading orchestras across four continents, including the Singapore Symphony, the National Symphony of China, the Simon Bolivar Orchestra in Caracas, Venezuela, the Orquestra Filarmonica de la UNAM in Mexico, the Phoenix Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic and the Round Top Festival. She has recently directed the National Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, and the orchestras of Denver, Indianapolis, Rochester, St. Paul, Louisville, San Diego, Edmonton, Columbus, Jacksonville and San Jose. Abroad she has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Belgium, Mexico's National symphony Orchestra, China's Central Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bilbao Symphony in Spain, the Czech National Symphony in Prague, the Orquestra Filharmonica de la UNAM in Mexico. In Germany she became the first woman to conduct the Mannheim Orchestra in its 200-year history.
Ms. Falletta is the recipient of eight consecutive awards from ASCAP for creative programming, for which she also received the American Symphony Orchestra League's coveted John S. Edwards Award. Ms. Falletta is also a champion of contemporary music, having performed nearly 300 works by American composers, including over 60 world premieres.
JoAnn Falletta's growing discography of more than 20 titles comprises recordings with the London Symphony, the English Chamber Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony, the Women's Philharmonic, the Long Beach Symphony and the Virginia Symphony.
Additional releases are scheduled with the Virginia Symphony featuring Peter and the Wolf and Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra on the NPR label. The Long Beach Symphony will release "Pictures," a disc of music inspired by art with music by Martinu, Respighi, and Mussorgsky-Ravel. Other recent recordings include "Seascapes" with the Virginia Symphony, and "Impressions of the Sea" with the Long Beach Symphony. Also scheduled for recording is a disc with the Czech National Symphony in collaboration with the Philadelphia Library's Fleischer Collection of American Music.
Other releases directed by Ms. Falletta include three CDs of works by women composers with the Women's Philharmonic on the Koch and Newport Classics labels. Of special interest is her recording of works by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Lili Boulanger and Germaine Tailleferre, which received a "Best Classical Recording" award from the National Association of Independent Record Distributors and a "Most Creative Programming" award from Classics CD Magazine.
Ms. Falletta's radio and television credits include numerous appearances on NPR's Performance Today and Fresh Air, WQXR, WNCN, CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Karault, the Charlie Rose Show, the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour and a special PBS TV Documentary about music with Penn & Teller.
As of December, 2003, JoAnn Falletta has initiated seven new CDs with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. They include two American Classics recordings on the NAXOS label devoted to the music of Charles Griffes and Frederick Converse. Also issued is a CD titled "Pictures at a Galllery" in collaboration with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, another titled "Impressions of French Music" and a third titled "Rhapsody." She also directed a release titled "Holiday Classics," which has been followed by another BPO CD titled "Holiday Pops" under the baton of Marvin Hamlisch.