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)
Falletta’s recordings for Naxos have received two Grammy awards and ten Grammy nominations. This season will see the release of two new Naxos discs by Falletta with the Buffalo Philharmonic, a second disc of the music of John Knowles Paine with the Ulster Orchestra and a world premiere disc of music of Ken Fuchs with the London Symphony Orchestra. She will also record three discs for Naxos in Virginia for release in 2016.
 
Under her direction, the Buffalo Philharmonic is continuing its trajectory as one of the most recorded orchestras in America. During the 2013-14 season, Naxos released four new BPO CDs, 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. In 2014-15, Naxos plans to release two new BPO discs of the music of Bela Bartok and Florent Schmitt. The BPO will also record music of Sibelius for its own Beau Fleuve label. Performance highlights include collaborative concerts with the Richmond Ballet of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle with Dale Chihuly glass installations, a Charles Ives multimedia concert / exploration, a fully staged Moliere Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme with the Irish Classical Theatre and Rachmaninoff and Beethoven Festivals.
 
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. Under her direction, the Buffalo Philharmonic has become one of the leading orchestras for the Naxos label. The BPO’s recording of Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man won two Grammy awards and six other BPO recordings have been Grammy nominated. Additional accomplishments include numerous ASCAP awards, including the top award for Adventurous Programming in 2011, 2013 and 2014, acclaimed Carnegie Hall performances in 2004 and 2013, highly successful Florida tours in 2010 and 2014, 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 national and international broadcasts of BPO concerts on National Public Radio’s (NPR) Performance Today and SymphonyCast, the European Broadcasting Union and PBS television.
 
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. The BPO is the only major orchestra to be featured twice 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 Mark O’Connor and Catherine Cho.
 
The Virginia Symphony’s 2014-15 season highlights include a performance of Bartok Bluebeard’s Castle with Dale Chihuly glass installations and the recording of three discs for the Naxos label, 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. It is anticipated that these three discs will be released in early 2016.
 
Berstein and Falletta
Bernstein & Falletta, 1985   (Photo Louis Brunelli)
Under Falletta’s direction, the VSO has risen to celebrated artistic heights and is ranked in the top ten percent of professional orchestras nationwide. 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.
 
Ms. Falletta is invited to guest conduct many of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. Her upcoming guest conducting highlights include debuts in Belgrade (Serbia), Shenzhen China, Sweden, and a European tour with the Stuttgart Orchestra. Recent appearances include return engagements with the Warsaw, Detroit, Phoenix, Krakow, Puerto Rico and Hawaii Symphony Orchestras and debuts with the Gothenburg Symphony, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Belgrade Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall, and a 13 city US tour with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and soloist 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, Mannheim Orchestra, Lisbon Metropolitan 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 Festival and the Brevard Music Festival. She is also Artistic Adviser to the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.
 
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 serves 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 community 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. During her tenure, the Orchestra’s budget has grown by 25 percent, subscriptions have reached record levels, the popular summer Artpark series has been reestablished, outreach activities have increased, and the BPO has regained its national prominence through recordings and broadcasts. 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 for 2011 and received the Virginia Women in History Award in 2013.
 
Perlman and Falletta
Perlman and Falletta, 2005   (Photo: John Lindberg)
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 and has great success working with outstanding young musicians, guest conducting the orchestras of many of the top conservatories, including Curtis, Juilliard, Mannes and Manhattan School and summer programs at Interlochen, Round Top and Brevard, among others.
 
Her growing discography, which currently includes over 85 titles, consists of recordings with the London Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Czech National Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia and Women’s Philharmonic, among others. 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, Rosenkavalier, and Dohnanyi, 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 (Naxos American Classics). Her 2014 disc of Gliere’s 3rd Symphony has 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 Avro Part 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 for the Naxos label, 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 for guitar, featuring Ms. Falletta as guitarist
 
Earlier discs of note include Burchfield Gallery, with music by Morton Gould and Jean Sibelius (BPO), Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, a recording of the Orchestra’s June 2004 performance in New York City, with music of Kodaly, Smetana and Zemlinsky, The American Cello, with the Virginia Symphony (Albany), Behzad Ranjbaran’s Persian Trilogy, with the London Symphony (Delos), The Music of Frederick Converse (Naxos American Classics) and Pictures at a Gallery by the Buffalo Philharmonic (Beau Fleuve), John Powell’s Virginia Symphony, with the Virginia Symphony (Albany), 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 under the NPR label.
 
Sarah Chang and Falletta
Sarah Chang and Falletta, 2006   (Photo: John Lindberg)
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.
 
Ms. Falletta’s radio and television credits include numerous appearances on NPR’s Performance Today, Fresh Air, 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. In 2008-09, she led the BPO in its second appearance on NPR’s From the Top and hosted a national PBS televised special, Bernstein’s Ode to Freedom. 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. Ms. Falletta’s first poetry book, Love Letters to Music, was published in the fall of 2004. Pierrot Lunaire, a poem from this collection, is the text setting for a new work by composer Paul English, premiered in 2012.
 
In addition to her current posts with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony and the Brevard Music Center, Ms. Falletta has held the positions of artistic advisor to the Honolulu Symphony, music director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, and music director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra, the Queens Philharmonic and the Women’s Philharmonic. From 2011 – 2014 she served as Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland where she made her debut at London’s prestigious Proms with the orchestra in 2011 and also has made five recordings with the orchestra for Naxos, including music of Gustav Holst, Irish composer Ernest John Moeran and American composer John Knowles Paine.
 
Ms. Falletta received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes College of Music in New York, 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 and Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center.
 
Galway and Falletta
Galway & Falletta, 2004
Ms. Falletta is invited to guest conduct many of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. Her upcoming guest conducting highlights include debuts in Begrade (Serbia), Shenzhen China, Sweden, and a European tour with the Stuttgart Orchestra. Recent appearances include return engagements with the Warsaw, Detroit, Phoenix, Krakow, Puerto Rico and Hawaii Symphony Orchestras and debuts with the Gothenburg Symphony, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Belgrade Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall, and a 13 city US tour with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and soloist 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, Mannheim Orchestra, Lisbon Metropolitan 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 Festival and the Brevard Festival. She is also Artistic Adviser to the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.
 
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 serves as a Member of the National Council on the Arts.
 
Under her direction, the Buffalo Philharmonic is continuing its trajectory as one of the most recorded orchestras in America. During the 2013 – 14 season, Naxos released four new BPO CDs, 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. In 2014-15, Naxos plans to release two new BPO discs of the music of Bela Bartok and Florent Schmitt. The BPO will also record music of Sibelius for its own Beau Fleuve label. Performance highlights include collaborative concerts with the Richmond Ballet of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle with Dale Chihuly glass installations, a Charles Ives multimedia concert/ exploration, a fully staged Moliere Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme with the Irish Classical Theatre and Rachmaninoff and Beethoven Festivals.
 
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 in the fall of 1999, Maestro Falletta has been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to a new level of national and international prominence. Under her direction, the Buffalo Philharmonic has become one of the leading orchestras for the Naxos label, earning a double Grammy Award in 2009 for their recording with soprano Hila Plitmann of John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man, and six Grammy nominations. 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.
 
The Virginia Symphony’s 2014-15 season highlights include a performance of Bartok Bluebeard’s Castle with Dale Chihuly glass installations and the recording of three discs for the Naxos label, 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. Under Falletta’s direction, the VSO has risen to celebrated artistic heights and is ranked in the top ten percent of professional orchestras nationwide. 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.
 
Her Naxos recordings include the double Grammy Award winning disc of works by John Corigliano and Grammy nominated discs of works of Tyberg, Dohnányi, Fuchs, Schubert, Respighi, Gershwin, Hailstork and Holst. Maestro Falletta’s growing discography, which currently includes over 85 titles, consists of recordings with the London Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Czech National Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia and Women’s Philharmonic, among others.
 
In addition to her current posts with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony and the Brevard Music Center, Ms. Falletta has held the positions of artistic advisor to the Honolulu Symphony, music director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, and music director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra, the Queens Philharmonic and the Women’s Philharmonic. From 2011 – 2014 she served as Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland where she made her debut at London’s prestigious Proms with the orchestra in 2011 and also has made five recordings for Naxos including music of Gustav Holst, Irish composer Ernest John Moeran and American composer John Knowles Paine.
 
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.