Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Few artists are as important to the fabric of their communities as JoAnn Falletta. 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. 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.” Both on and off the podium, she is a vibrant ambassador for music and an inspiring artistic leader.
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. In 2009, for the first time in its 74-year history, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra won two Grammy awards for the Best Classical Performance and Best Classical Composition for its John Corigliano: Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan; Three Hallucinations CD that was released in 2008. The orchestra was also nominated for a third Grammy in the Best Engineered Album, Classical category for its Respighi: Church Windows recording. And in March 2010, JoAnn Falletta led the Buffalo Philharmonic in the five-city Florida Friends Tour in March 2010, the first multi-city tour since the 1988 European tour.
Under her leadership, the BPO has made an unprecedented number of highly acclaimed recordings, and has entered into a multi-disc contract with Naxos, representing the first commercial recording contract the orchestra has had with an international label in over 20 years. The BPO is one of the leading orchestras for the Naxos label and one of the most frequently recorded orchestras in America, with seven Naxos CDs released since JoAnn began with the orchestra, and another three CDs in the works as of June 2009. The Orchestra has simultaneously established its own recording label, releasing seven CDs with marketing partnerships with the Albright Knox and Burchfield Penney Museums and Darwin Martin House in Buffalo.
Falletta, who has established a reputation for conducting artistically important, but seldom-heard works, is embarking on a multi-year recording project of the lost works of Marcel Tyberg, the brilliant Austrian composer and Holocaust victim. The first release in this series will be Tyberg’s Symphony No. 3. Upcoming Naxos projects by Falletta and the BPO include another Corigliano recording featuring Phantasmagoria and the Red Violin Concerto with the BPO’s concertmaster, Michael Ludwig. This season, Ms. Falletta once again leads the orchestra in a number of concerts to be broadcast nationally on NPR’s Performance Today and SymphonyCast, and international broadcasts through the European Broadcasting Union.
Both on and off the podium, Falletta is a dedicated advocate for her orchestras. She was named Buffalo’s most influential community leader and Buffalo and Erie County’s Artist of the Year. This year, she will be receiving the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies Award 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/Niagra 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.