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, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and music advisor to the Hawaii Symphony.
Ms. Falletta is invited to guest conduct many of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. Recent guest conducting highlights include 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.
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 and Mannheim 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, Eastern, Peninsula and Brevard Festival.
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 served as a Member of the National Council on the Arts during both the George W Bush and Obama administrations.
Her growing discography, which currently includes over 90 titles, consists of recordings with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Czech National Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Lithuanian National Symphony London Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia, Prague Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Virginia Symphony and the Women’s Philharmonic. 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’s Rosenkavalier, and Dohnanyi’s Variations on a Nursery Song. In her role as Principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra from 2011-2014, Ms. Falletta recorded 6 CDs for the Naxos returning the orchestra to its renowned recording history.
Upcoming discs on the Naxos label include the works of Florent Schmitt, Novak, Scriabin and Wagner with the Buffalo Philharmonic, works of Paine and Victor Herbert with the Ulster Orchestra and works of Stravinsky and Mahler with the Virginia Symphony.
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2015-16Season celebrates the 75th anniversary of Kleinhans Music Hall with works showcasing the hall’s exquisite acoustics. Recording highlights for the Buffalo Philharmonic’s 2015-16 season include the release by Naxos of the music of Florent Schmitt, and Beau Fleuve releases of The Essential Sibelius in honor of his birthday and the BPO’s Finland Celebration, and the Orchestra’s first ever Children’s CD, featuring Carnival of the Animals, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Mother Goose Suite.
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. 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.
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.
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 from the Mannes College of Music in New York and her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School.