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, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and Music Advisor to the Hawaii Symphony. 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.”
Ms. Falletta 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 2017-18 international guest conducting appearances include performances with the RTE Concert Orchestra (Dublin), the New Japan Philharmonic and Mexico Symphony Philharmonic, among others, as well as recordings with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony. Recent guest conducting highlights include performances with the National Symphony at Wolf Trap, the National Orchestras of Peru, Columbia and Iceland, as well as 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.
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.
JoAnn is a leading recording artist for Naxos. Her discs have won two Grammy Awards and ten Grammy nominations. In 2016, Falletta celebrated the release of her 100th recording, Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale Suite / Octet / Les Noces with the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players. Other recent recordings include Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 5 with soloist Norman Krieger and the Buffalo Philharmonic, a disc of the cello concertos of Victor Herbert with soloist Mark Kosower and the Ulster Orchestra and works of Richard Strauss, Florent Schmitt, Novak, Scriabin and Wagner with the Buffalo Philharmonic. In 2017, Falletta will be featured on Naxos recordings of music of Kodaly and Wagner’s Music from the Ring with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, a recording of music of Franz Schreker with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and her fifth world premiere disc of Kenneth Fuchs’ music with the London Symphony.
Upon her appointment as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 1999, Maestro Falletta became the first female conductor to lead a major American ensemble. She has since been credited with bringing the BPO 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 international broadcasts through the European Broadcasting Union. Both the BPO and the Virginia Symphony have received ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming during JoAnn’s tenure. 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.
Falletta first fell in love with music when she was 7 and began studying classical guitar. The JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, sponsored by the Buffalo Philharmonic and WNED-FM in Buffalo, is one of the premier classical guitar performance competitions in the world.
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 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.