Biography

JoAnn Falletta

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

Hailed as a “leading force for the music of our time”, for her work as a conductor, communicator, recording artist, audience builder, champion of American composers and distinguished musical citizen, JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Virginia Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center. Her conducting has been acclaimed 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.”
 
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)
Internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music and an inspiring artistic leader, 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. She has also served as Principal Conductor of the Ulster 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.
 
Falletta’s 2016-17 international guest conducting engagements include appearances in Spain and Finland, in addition to recordings with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony at the famed Abbey Roads Studios. Recent guest conducting highlights include performances with orchestras in Columbia and Iceland, as well as debuts in Belgrade, Gothenburg, Lima, Bogotá, Helsingborg, a European tour with the Stuttgart Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Return engagements include concerts with the Warsaw and Kraków Philharmonics, the Symphonies of Detroit and Phoenix, and a 13 city US tour with the Irish Chamber Orchestra with James Galway.
 
Since stepping up to the podium as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic 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. Her recordings for Naxos with the BPO have garnered two Grammy awards and six nominations. She and the BPO have been honored with numerous ASCAP awards, including the top award for Adventurous Programming in 2011, 2013 and 2014, made two acclaimed Carnegie Hall performances in 2004 and 2013 and two highly successful Florida tours. Other accomplishments under her leadership include 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 concerts on NPR’s Performance Today, SymphonyCast, and the European Broadcasting Union. This season, the BPO will again be featured on NPR’s From the Top. 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 violinists Mark O’Connor and Catherine Cho.
 
Berstein and Falletta
Bernstein & Falletta, 1985   (Photo Louis Brunelli)
Recording highlights for the Buffalo Philharmonic’s 2016-17 season include the Naxos release of the music by Richard Strauss and Vitezslav Novak and Beau Fleuve releases of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Chloe Hanslip, Beethoven’s Piano Concerti Nos. 3 and 5 “Emperor” with Norman Krieger and a new holiday disc. The orchestra is also scheduled to record music of Kodaly and Wagner’s Music from the Ring.
 
Under Falletta’s direction, the Virginia Symphony 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. JoAnn will also release two discs for the Naxos label with the Virginia Arts Festival this season, Intimate Mahler and Stravinsky’s Suite from The Soldier’s Tale, Les Noces and Octet.
 
In 2016, Falletta was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining an esteemed roster that dates back to the Academy's founding in 1780, including America’s founding fathers and more than two hundred fifty Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. She has served as a member of the National Council on the Arts and 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 more than 500 works by American composers, including well over 100 world premieres.
 
Perlman and Falletta
Perlman and Falletta, 2005   (Photo: John Lindberg)
Few artists are as important to the fabric of their communities as JoAnn Falletta. She was named World’s Favorite Conductor for 2015 in an online poll for Bachtrack, 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 for her role 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. JoAnn was one of the first conductors to work with the newly formed innovative Orchestra Now created by Leon Botstein and Bard College. This coming season, she will conduct the 100th anniversary concert of her alma mater, The Mannes College of Music, at Alice Tully Hall and be in residence at SUNY Potsdam.
 
JoAnn is a leading recording artist for Naxos and has been recognized with two Grammy Awards and ten Grammy nominations. Recent recordings include Stravinsky’s The Soldier's Tale with the Virginia Arts Festival, a disc of the cello concerti of Victor Herbert and the Ulster Orchestra and works of Florent Schmitt, Novak, Scriabin and Wagner with the Buffalo Philharmonic. In addition to her recordings with the BPO and Virginia Arts Festival, this season she will record music of Joseph Marx with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and her fifth world premiere recording of the music of Kenneth Fuchs with the London Symphony for Naxos. Her growing discography includes over 100 titles with the BPO, VSO, VAF, Ulster Orchestra, London Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia, Women’s Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, and Czech National Symphony.
 
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, 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.
 
Sarah Chang and Falletta
Sarah Chang and Falletta, 2006   (Photo: John Lindberg)
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 and made five Naxos recordings with the orchestra, including the 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, Queens Philharmonic and the Women’s Philharmonic.
 
Falletta has appeared as guitarist, mandolinist and lutenist with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, American Ballet Orchestra, Women’s Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony and the Juilliard Orchestra, and has received wide critical acclaim for her guitar chamber music recordings for the Virginia Arts Festival.
 
Ms. Falletta received her undergraduate degree in classical guitar from the Mannes College of Music, her master’s and doctorate degrees in conducting from The Juilliard School, and has been awarded eleven honorary doctorates. When not on the podium she enjoys writing, cycling, yoga and has a great love of literature.

 
JoAnn Falletta
Conductor
Condensed Biography

Hailed as a “leading force for the music of our time”, for her work as a conductor, communicator, recording artist, audience builder, champion of American composers and distinguished musical citizen, JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center. She has been acclaimed 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.”
 
Galway and Falletta
Galway & Falletta, 2004
Internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music and an inspiring artistic leader, 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 the Montreal and Toronto Symphonies. International appearances include the Liverpool and Manchester-BBC Philharmonics, Scottish BBC Orchestra, Czech and Rotterdam Philharmonics, Orchestra National de Lyon, Mannheim Orchestra, the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra, and the London Symphony. 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.
 
In 2016, Falletta was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining an esteemed roster that dates back to the Academy's founding in 1780, including America’s founding fathers and more than two hundred fifty Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. She has served as a member of the National Council on the Arts and 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 well over 100 world premieres.
 
Falletta, a leading recording artist for Naxos, has been recognized with two Grammy Awards and ten Grammy nominations. Recent recordings include Stravinsky’s The Soldier's Tale with the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players and narrated by Fred Child, a disc of Victor Herbert’s cello concerti with the Ulster Orchestra and works of Florent Schmitt with the Buffalo Philharmonic. In addition to recording the music of Joseph Marx with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and her fifth world premiere recording of the music of Kenneth Fuchs with the London Symphony, this season will see the release of a disc dedicated to the music of Vitezslav Novak with the BPO. Her growing discography includes over 100 titles with the London Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia, Women’s Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, and Czech National Symphony.
 
Gil Shaham and Falletta
Gil Shaham and Falletta, 2012   (Photo: John Lindberg)
Since stepping up to the podium as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, 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, SymphonyCast and From the Top, and international broadcasts through the European Broadcasting Union.
 
Under Falletta’s direction, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra 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. The orchestra 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 Music Advisor to the 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 in classical guitar from the Mannes College of Music in New York and her master’s and doctorate degrees in conducting from The Juilliard School.