Kleinhans Music Hall painted by JoAnn Falletta
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 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.
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 and 2013, 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.
By being innovative and flexible in its approach to changing economic conditions, and stressing artistic excellence, the BPO is continuing to build its reputation as one of the nation’s, and the world’s, great symphony orchestras. Under Falletta’s tenure, subscription numbers have reached record levels, the Orchestra’s budget has increased 25 percent, educational audiences have doubled, the Orchestra completed a successful $34 million endowment campaign, and the popular summer Artpark series has been reestablished. The JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto and Composition Competitions have brought international acclaim and attention to the classical guitar, the Buffalo region and the BPO.
Both on and off the podium, Falletta is a dedicated advocate for the BPO and the Buffalo region. She was named Buffalo’s most influential community leader, and Buffalo and Erie County’s Artist of the Year, and was voted a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and the Western New York Women’s Hall of Fame. Falletta has received twelve honorary doctorates, the Erie County Historical Society’s Red Jacket for outstanding community service, the Theodore Roosevelt award, the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies Award for outstanding leadership in the Tyberg Musical Legacy project and the Human Relations Award from the Buffalo/Niagara Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. Most recently, she was presented with the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal, the University of Buffalo’s highest award and The National Federation for Just Communities Citation Award.