Biography

JoAnn Falletta

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

GRAMMY-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and Artistic Adviser of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. Hailed for 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’, she is a leading force for the music of our time.
 
JoAnn with composer Ken Fuchs at the GRAMMY Awards in 2019
JoAnn with composer Ken Fuchs at the GRAMMY Awards in 2019
Her recent and upcoming North American guest conducting includes the National Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and Milwaukee Symphony; and further north, the Toronto Symphony and Orchestre metropolitain. Internationally, she has conducted many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, and South America. Pending further national and international guidance on the current COVID-19 pandemic, she is looking forward to guest conducting appearances in Canada, Poland, Sweden, and Spain in 2021.
 
Upon her appointment as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta became the first woman to lead a major America ensemble and has been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to an unprecedented level of national and international prominence. As the world has been impacted by COVID-19, JoAnn has been focused on working with her board, musicians, audiences, and other cultural institutions to keep audiences engaged during this difficult time and using this time as an opportunity to bring about artistic change. With goals of making sure voices that haven’t been heard will be heard in the concert halls, and using this time as an opportunity to shape orchestra programs in a positive way, JoAnn plans to incorporate pieces by Ernesto Cordero, Adolphus Hailstork, Jessie Montgomery ,George Walker, Natalie Coleman, Tania Leon, Julia Perry, Joseph Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint Georges, C.T. Perkinson, and others into the coming seasons. She has also come to see the requirements of social distancing on stage as a special time to program repertoire using 35 or fewer musicians and is making plans to perform rarely heard gems for smaller orchestra.
 
The Buffalo Philharmonic has become one of the leading recording orchestras for Naxos and returned twice to Carnegie Hall, first in 2004 after a 20-year absence, and again in 2013 as part of the Spring for Music Festival. In 2018, the BPO made their first international tour in three decades, to perform at Warsaw’s prestigious Beethoven Easter Festival where Falletta made history as the first American women conductor to lead an orchestra at the Festival. She and the BPO have been honored with numerous ASCAP awards, including the top award for Adventurous Programming. Other accomplishments include the establishment of the orchestra’s Beau Fleuve label, the founding of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition in partnership with WNED, four successful tours of Florida, and the national and international broadcast of concerts on NPR’s Performance Today, SymphonyCast, and the European Broadcasting Union.
 
JoAnn with Leonard Bernstein at The Juilliard School.
JoAnn with Leonard Bernstein at The Juilliard School   (Photo: Peter Schaaf, 1983)
In 2020, JoAnn Falletta concluded a long and successful tenure as Music Director of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and was named the Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Under her baton, the VSO rose to celebrated artistic heights, performing world premieres by such composers as Kenneth Fuchs, Behzad Ranjbaran, Michael Daugherty and Lowell Liebermann, forgotten gems of the classical repertoire, as well as classics, pops and family concerts in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Williamsburg. The Orchestra made critically acclaimed debuts at the Kennedy Center and New York’s Carnegie Hall, was honored with an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, and released 18 recordings, including discs on the internationally acclaimed Naxos label, Albany Records, NPR and the orchestra’s own Hampton Roads label. Virginians have honored her with a star on Norfolk’s Legends of Music Walk of Fame, the Virginia Women in History Award, Norfolk’s Downtowner of the Year and the 50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Award from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
 
Falletta in Macy's Remarkable Women Ad
Falletta in Macy's Remarkable Women Ad, 2018   (Photo: Jack Waterlot)
With a discography of almost 120 titles, JoAnn is a leading recording artist for Naxos. In 2019, JoAnn won her first individual GRAMMY Award as conductor of the London Symphony in the category of Best Classical Compendium for Spiritualist, her fifth world premiere recording of music of Kenneth Fuchs. Her Naxos recording of John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan received two GRAMMYs in 2008. Recent and upcoming releases by the BPO for Naxos include the world premiere recording of Danielpour’s The Passion of Yeshua, Salome by Florent Schmitt and Poem of Ecstasy by Scriabin as well as two recordings on the BPO’s Beau Fleuve label—BPO Live: Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, with pianist Fabio Bidini; and Forgotten Treasures featuring five rarely played orchestral works. Falletta’s other recent releases on Naxos include Respighi’s Roman Trilogy, Wagner’s Orchestral Music from Der Ring de Nibelungen, and Kodály’s Concerto for Orchestra, each with the BPO, and Franz Schreker’s The Birthday of the Infanta – Suite with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.
 
Falletta is a member of the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has served by presidential appointment as a Member of the National Council on the Arts during the Bush and Obama administrations and is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards. She has introduced over 500 works by American composers, including well over 100 world premieres. In March 2019, JoAnn was named Performance Today’s Classical Woman of the Year. From 2011-14, she served as Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, with whom she made her Proms debut and recorded 6 highly acclaimed Naxos discs. She was the first woman and the first American to fill this post.
 
Thomas Hampson and Falletta
Thomas Hampson and Falletta, 2018   (Photo: Enid Bloch)
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 established a unique collaboration between the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Mannes College of Music to give up-and-coming conductors professional experience with a leading American orchestra. In 2018, she served on the jury of the Malko Competition in Denmark. She has had great success working with young musicians, guest conducting orchestras at top conservatories and summer programs at the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Interlochen, and Brevard Music Center. As Artistic Advisor at CIM, she provides expert guidance and artistic continuity, and will conduct five CIM Orchestra concerts over three years.
 
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 and The Women’s Philharmonic. She received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes School of Music, and her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School. When not on the podium, JoAnn enjoys playing classical guitar, writing, cycling, yoga and is an avid reader.

 
JoAnn Falletta
Conductor
Condensed Biography

Grammy-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and Artistic Adviser to the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. She is hailed for her work as a conductor, recording artist, audience builder and champion of American composers.
 
Galway and Falletta
Galway & Falletta, 2004
As Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta became the first woman to lead a major America ensemble. Celebrating her 20th anniversary with the Buffalo Philharmonic this past season, she is credited with bringing the orchestra to a new level of national and international prominence. Her recent and upcoming North American guest conducting includes the National Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and Milwaukee Symphony; and further north, the Toronto Symphony and Orchestre metropolitain. Internationally, she has conducted many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, and South America. Pending further national and international guidance on the current COVID-19 pandemic, she is looking forward to guest conducting appearances in Canada, Poland, Sweden, and Spain in 2021.
 
With a discography of almost 120 titles, Falletta is a leading recording artist for Naxos. Gramophone Magazine says “JoAnn Falletta conducts performances that are assured, spontaneous and superbly played”. In 2019, she won her first individual Grammy Award as conductor of the London Symphony in the Best Classical Compendium category for Spiritualist, her fifth world premiere recording of the music of Kenneth Fuchs. Her Naxos recording of Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan received two Grammys in 2008. Recent and upcoming releases by the BPO for Naxos include the world premiere recording of Danielpour’s The Passion of Yeshua, Salome by Florent Schmitt and Poem of Ecstasy by Scriabin as well as two recordings on the BPO’s Beau Fleuve label—BPO Live: Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, with pianist Fabio Bidini; and Forgotten Treasures featuring five rarely played orchestral works.
 
Falletta is a member of the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has served by presidential appointment as a Member of the National Council on the Arts during the Bush and Obama administrations and is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards. She has introduced over 500 works by American composers, including well over 100 world premieres. In 2019, JoAnn was named Performance Today’s Classical Woman of The Year, calling her a “tireless champion” and lauding her “unique combination of artistic authority and compassion, compelling musicianship and humanity.”
 
Fred Child and Falletta in the Performance Today studios
Fred Child and Falletta in the Performance Today studios, 2018
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 established a unique collaboration between the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Mannes College of Music to give up-and-coming conductors professional experience with a leading American orchestra. In 2018, she served on the jury of the Malko Competition in Denmark. She has had great success working with young musicians, guest conducting orchestras at top conservatories and summer programs at the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Interlochen, and Brevard Music Center, and beginning this year, as Artistic Advisor at CIM.
 
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 and The Women’s Philharmonic.
 
After earning her bachelor’s degree at Mannes, Falletta received master’s and doctoral degrees from the Juilliard School. When not on the podium, JoAnn enjoys playing classical guitar, writing, cycling, yoga and is an avid reader.