Biography

JoAnn Falletta

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JoAnn Falletta
Photo: David Adam Beloff
JoAnn Falletta
Conductor
Full Length Biography

JoAnn Falletta is internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music and an inspiring artistic leader. An effervescent and exuberant figure on the podium, she has been praised by The Washington Post as having “Toscanini’s tight control over ensemble, Walter’s affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski’s gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein.” Acclaimed by The New York Times as “one of the finest conductors of her generation,” she serves as the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center.
 
Ken Fuchs, Michael Fine, Thomas Stacy and Fallett
Ken Fuchs, Michael Fine, Thomas Stacy and Falletta at the 2006 Grammy Awards   (Photo: Chris von Rosenvinge)
Ms. Falletta is invited to guest conduct many of the world’s finest orchestras. She has guest conducted over a hundred orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Her North America guest conducting appearances have included the orchestras of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Seattle, San Diego, and the National Symphony as well as Montreal and Toronto. International appearances include the London Symphony, Liverpool and Manchester-BBC Philharmonics, Scottish BBC Orchestra, Czech and Rotterdam Philharmonics, Orchestra National de Lyon, Mannheim Orchestra and the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra. Asian engagements include appearances with the Korean Broadcast Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, China National Symphony and the Shanghai Symphony. Ms. Falletta’s summer activities have taken her to numerous music festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood, the Hollywood Bowl, Wolf Trap, Mann Center, Meadow Brook, OK Mozart Festival and the Grand Teton Festival.
 
Recent guest conducting highlights include her a European tour with the Stuttgart Orchestra, return engagements with the Belgrade Philharmonic (Serbia), the Warsaw, Krakow, Detroit, Phoenix, Puerto Rico and Hawaii Symphony Orchestras as well as debuts with the Gothenburg Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall, and a 13 city US tour with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and soloist James Galway.
 
Since stepping up to the podium as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 1999, Maestro Falletta has been credited with bringing it to a new level of national and international prominence. During her tenure, the Orchestra’s budget has grown by 25 percent and subscriptions have reached record levels. Under her direction, the BPO is continuing its trajectory as one of the most recorded orchestras in America. In addition to receiving two Grammy awards and six nominations, Falletta and the BPO have garnered numerous ASCAP awards, including the top award for Adventurous Programming in 2011, 2013 and 2014, two acclaimed Carnegie Hall performances in 2004 and 2013, two highly successful Florida tours, the establishment of the orchestra’s own Beau Fleuve label, the founding of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition in partnership with WNED, and the national and international broadcast of BPO concerts on NPR’s Performance Today, SymphonyCast, and the European Broadcasting Union. Other recent broadcasts include a national PBS televised special, Bernstein’s Ode to Freedom featuring Ms. Falletta as host, and a PBS special of the Four Seasons with Mark O’Connor and Catherine Cho.
 
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2015-16 Season celebrates the 75th anniversary of Kleinhans Music Hall, with major guest artists such as Lang Lang, Chris Botti and Andre Watts, and works showcasing the hall’s exquisite acoustics. Recording highlights for the Buffalo Philharmonic’s 2015-16 season include the release by Naxos of the music of Florent Schmitt, and Beau Fleuve releases of The Essential Sibelius in honor of his birthday and the BPO’s Finland Celebration, and the Orchestra’s first ever Children’s CD, featuring Carnival of the Animals, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Mother Goose Suite. Recent releases on the BPO’s own Beau Fleuve label include include Built for Buffalo, a disc featuring three works commissioned by the orchestra, Nordic Masters celebrating the 150th birthday of both Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen, and Live in Concert with works by Mozart, Dvořák, and Rachmaninoff. During the 2013-14 season, Naxos released Gliere’s Symphony No.3, Tyberg’s Symphony No.2, Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown, and Beige, and Gershwin’s Concerto in F, Rhapsody in Blue, Strike up the Band and Promenade.
 
Berstein and Falletta
Bernstein & Falletta, 1985   (Photo Louis Brunelli)
Under Falletta’s direction, the VSO has risen to celebrated artistic heights performing classics, pops and family concerts in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Williamsburg and made critically acclaimed debuts at the Kennedy Center and New York’s Carnegie Hall Highlights of the Virginia Symphony’s 2015-16 season include a Beethoven Festival, and performances by violinist Sarah Chang, pianist Natasha Paremski and cellist Zuill Baile. JoAnn will also record three discs for the Naxos label with the Virginia Arts Festival; Mahler (arr. Schoenberg) The Song of the Earth, The Songs of a Wayfarer, and two discs of music of Stravinsky, The Soldier’s Tale (complete) and Suite from The Soldier’s Tale, Les Noces and Octet. The discs, expected to be released in early 2016, are part of a new recording agreement with Naxos.
 
Falletta is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards including the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award for exceptionally gifted American conductors, the coveted Stokowski Competition and the Toscanini, Ditson and Bruno Walter Awards for conducting, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra League’s prestigious John S. Edwards Award. She has introduced over 500 works by American composers, including 110 world premieres. Hailing her as a “leading force for the music of our time,” the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers has honored JoAnn Falletta with twelve ASCAP awards, recognizing her work as a conductor, communicator, recording artist, audience builder, champion of American composers and distinguished musical citizen. Ms. Falletta served as a Member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts.
 
Few artists are as important to the fabric of their communities as JoAnn Falletta. She was named Buffalo’s Most Influential Civic Leader, Buffalo and Erie County’s Artist of the Year, was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, and was presented with the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal, the University of Buffalo’s highest award. She received the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies Award for outstanding leadership in the Marcel Tyberg Musical Legacy project. The JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition has brought international acclaim and attention to the classical guitar, the Buffalo region and the BPO. Falletta is a member of the Western New York Women’s Hall of Fame, and received the Human Relations Award from the Buffalo/Niagara Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. In Virginia, she earned a star on Norfolk’s Legends of Music Walk of Fame in recognition of her effect on the appreciation of classical music in Hampton Roads and Virginia, was named Norfolk’s Downtowner of the Year and received the Virginia Women in History Award.
 
Falletta is a strong advocate and mentor for young professional and student musicians. She has led seminars for women conductors for the League of American Orchestras, established a unique collaboration between the BPO and Mannes College to give up-and-coming conductors professional experience with a leading American orchestra, and has great success working with young musicians, guest conducting the orchestras of many of the top conservatories, including Curtis, Juilliard, Mannes and The Manhattan School and summer programs at Interlochen, Round Top and Brevard, among others. In 2015, JoAnn will be one of the first conductors to work with the newly formed innovative, international educational orchestra created by Leon Botstein and Bard College.
 
Perlman and Falletta
Perlman and Falletta, 2005   (Photo: John Lindberg)
In addition to the release of the two new Naxos discs by Falletta with the Buffalo Philharmonic, this season also saw a world premiere disc of music of Ken Fuchs with the London Symphony Orchestra and a second disc of the music of John Knowles Paine with the Ulster Orchestra. Her growing discography, which includes over 90 titles, consists of recordings with the Long Beach Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia, Women’s Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Czech National Symphony, among others. In addition to her double Grammy Award-winning Corigliano disc, her Grammy nominated discs include recordings with the Buffalo Philharmonic of Tyberg’s Symphony No. 3, Corigliano’s Red Violin, Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, Strauss’ Rosenkavalier, and Dohnanyi’s Variations on a Nursery Song. In 2013, four of Falletta’s Naxos discs with the London Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony and Ulster Orchestra were Grammy nominated as part of the body of work by producer Tim Handley for Best Producer. She received her first Grammy nomination in 2006 for Fuch’s Eventide Concerto for English Horn, Harp, Percussion, and String Orchestra, with the London Symphony, from the CD An American Place. Her recording of Gliere’s Symphony No.3has received worldwide acclaim, including 5 stars and a top pick from BBC Music Magazine. The Washington Post selected her 2011 recording of piano music of Arvo Pärt as a top disc of the year. Her recording of Jack Gallagher’s music with the London Symphony received five stars from BBC Music Magazine and Audiophile Audition, and was selected as a Best of 2010 by Minnesota Public Radio and listed among Fanfare Magazine’s Want List for 2011. Discs of the music of Respighi and Griffes, both on the Naxos label with the Buffalo Philharmonic, were selected as Editor’s Choice Recordings by Gramophone. Other recent Naxos discs include Joseph Suk’s Fairy Tale, world premiere recordings of Daron Hagen’s opera Shining Brow, based on the early years of Frank Lloyd Wright, and two “new” works by Franz Schubert, featuring the completion of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, and a newly orchestrated transcription of Death and the Maiden, her first recording with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra featuring the violin concertos of Dohnányi, the music of Paul Schoenfield with the Prague Philharmonia, the works of Aaron Copland with the BPO, and Borrowed Treasures, Ms Falletta’s third disc of chamber music featuring her on guitar.
 
Earlier discs of note include Burchfield Gallery, with music by Morton Gould and Jean Sibelius (BPO), Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Behzad Ranjbaran’s Persian Trilogy with the London Symphony (Delos), The Music of Frederick Converse (Naxos) and Pictures at a Gallery by the Buffalo Philharmonic (Beau Fleuve), The American Clarinet, with the Czech National Symphony (Albany), Schubert’s Guitar (Koch), featuring Ms. Falletta as guitarist and arranger, Impressions of French Music and Rhapsodie with the Buffalo Philharmonic, and Peter and the Wolf and the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, with the Virginia Symphony and celebrities from National Public Radio, released on the NPR label.
 
Ms. Falletta made three recordings of works by women composers with the Women’s Philharmonic. 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 Classic CD Magazine. Additional recordings feature music by Poulenc, Ravel, Moross, Shulamit Ran, Elinor Armer and John Luther Adams.
 
Sarah Chang and Falletta
Sarah Chang and Falletta, 2006   (Photo: John Lindberg)
Ms. Falletta’s radio and television credits include numerous appearances on Fresh Air, All Things Considered and From the Top, WQXR, WNCN, CBS Sunday Morning, the Charlie Rose Show, the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour, BBC Radio, and several nationally televised performances on PBS including Live from Lincoln Center-Juilliard at 80, Seasons of Life with Mark O’Connor and the BPO, and a special PBS TV documentary about music with Penn & Teller. As a writer, Ms. Falletta has contributed articles to Symphony Magazine, the New York Concert Review, the Virginian Pilot, Portfolio Magazine and Traffic East Magazine. A poem from Ms. Falletta’s first poetry book, Love Letters to Music, is the text setting for a work by composer Paul English that premiered in 2012.
 
Ms. Falletta served as Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland from 2011-14 where she made her debut at London’s prestigious Proms with the orchestra and made five recordings with the orchestra for Naxos, including music of Gustav Holst, Ernest John Moeran and John Knowles Paine. She has held the positions of Artistic Advisor to the Honolulu Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, Music Director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra, the Queens Philharmonic and the Women’s Philharmonic.
 
Ms. Falletta received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes College of Music, her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School, and in addition, has been awarded eleven honorary doctorates.

 
JoAnn Falletta
Conductor
Condensed Biography

JoAnn Falletta is internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music, an inspiring artistic leader, and a champion of American symphonic music. An effervescent and exuberant figure on the podium, she has been praised by The Washington Post as having “Toscanini’s tight control over ensemble, Walter’s affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski’s gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein.” Acclaimed by The New York Times as “one of the finest conductors of her generation”, she serves as the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and music advisor to the Hawaii Symphony.
 
Galway and Falletta
Galway & Falletta, 2004
Ms. Falletta is invited to guest conduct many of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. Recent guest conducting highlights include debuts in Belgrade, Gothenburg, Lima, Bogotá, Helsingborg, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, a European tour with the Stuttgart Orchestra, return engagements with the Warsaw, Detroit, Phoenix, and Krakow Symphony Orchestras and a 13 city US tour with the Irish Chamber Orchestra with James Galway.
 
She has guest conducted over a hundred orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Her North America guest conducting appearances have included the orchestras of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Seattle, San Diego, Montreal, Toronto and the National Symphony and international appearances have included the London Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Korean Broadcast Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, China National Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester BBC Philharmonic, Scottish BBC orchestra, Orchestra National de Lyon and Mannheim Orchestra among others. Ms. Falletta’s summer activities have taken her to numerous music festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood, the Hollywood Bowl, Wolf Trap, Mann Center, Meadow Brook, OK Mozart Festival, Grand Teton, Eastern, Peninsula and Brevard Festival.
 
Falletta is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards including the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award, the coveted Stokowski Competition, and the Toscanini, Ditson and Bruno Walter Awards for conducting, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra League’s prestigious John S. Edwards Award. She is an ardent champion of music of our time, introducing over 500 works by American composers, including more than 110 world premieres. Hailing her as a “leading force for the music of our time”, she has been honored with twelve ASCAP awards. Ms. Falletta served as a Member of the National Council on the Arts during both the George W Bush and Obama administrations.
 
Her growing discography, which currently includes over 90 titles, consists of recordings with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Czech National Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Lithuanian National Symphony London Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia, Prague Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Virginia Symphony and the Women’s Philharmonic. Her recording with the Buffalo Philharmonic and soprano, Hila Plitmann of Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man received two Grammy Awards in 2009. Grammy nominated discs include her recordings with the Buffalo Philharmonic of Tyberg’s Symphony No. 3, Corigliano’s Red Violin, Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, Strauss’s Rosenkavalier, and Dohnanyi’s Variations on a Nursery Song. In her role as Principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra from 2011-2014, Ms. Falletta recorded 6 CDs for the Naxos returning the orchestra to its renowned recording history.
 
Gil Shaham and Falletta
Gil Shaham and Falletta, 2012   (Photo: John Lindberg)
Upcoming discs on the Naxos label include the works of Florent Schmitt, Novak, Scriabin and Wagner with the Buffalo Philharmonic, works of Paine and Victor Herbert with the Ulster Orchestra and works of Stravinsky and Mahler with the Virginia Symphony.
 
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2015-16 Season celebrates the 75th anniversary of Kleinhans Music Hall with works showcasing the hall’s exquisite acoustics. Recording highlights for the Buffalo Philharmonic’s 2015-16 season include the release by Naxos of the music of Florent Schmitt, and Beau Fleuve releases of The Essential Sibelius in honor of his birthday and the BPO’s Finland Celebration, and the Orchestra’s first ever Children’s CD, featuring Carnival of the Animals, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Mother Goose Suite.
 
Since stepping up to the podium as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in the fall of 1999, Maestro Falletta has been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to a new level of national and international prominence. This season, the BPO will once again be featured on national broadcasts of NPR’s Performance Today and SymphonyCast, and international broadcasts through the European Broadcasting Union.
 
Under Falletta’s direction, the VSO has risen to celebrated artistic heights. The VSO, which made critically acclaimed debuts at the Kennedy Center and New York’s Carnegie Hall under Falletta and entered into their first multinational recording agreement with Naxos, performs classics, pops and family concert series in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Williamsburg.
 
In addition to her current posts with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, Brevard Music Center and Hawaii Symphony, Ms. Falletta has held the positions of principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, music director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and music director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra.
 
Ms. Falletta received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes College of Music in New York and her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School.