JoAnn Falletta signs six-year extension with BPO, Jim Fink, Buffalo Business First

JoAnn Falletta, the longest tenured music director and principal conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, has agreed to remain with the orchestra through 2021.

Falletta’s six-year contract extension was announced Saturday night just before the orchestra’s final concert of its 2014-2015 M&T Bank Classics Season.


Signing her to an extension was a top priority for the orchestra, especially against the backdrop of her growing international reputation as one of the top conductors in classic music circles. Retaining Falletta, who has been the orchestra’s music director and principal conductor since 1999, adds to the BPO’s prestige and ranking as one of the top music ensembles in North America.

In an impressive line past conductors including the likes of Lukas Foss and Michael Tilson Thomas, Falletta ranks as its most prominent and respected leader both locally and internationally.

“This is a dream situation for a conductor,” Falletta said. “We have a superb orchestra committed to excellence and to its community, an exemplary board, a visionary executive director and a wonderful staff, dedicated volunteers, and an audience that encourages us to reach for the highest level of artistry and supports us with curiosity, open-mindedness and love.”

Because of Falletta’s star power, the BPO has a recording contract with the highly-respected Naxos label and has released 32 CDs with her. The BPO has played Carnegie Hall twice under Falletta and played a pair of multi-city tours of Florida.

The BPO has also played concerts in Utica and Saratoga Springs, both times led by Falletta.

This summer, the orchestra has been invited to perform at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Shaw Festival, thanks to Falletta’s stature and drawing power.

Attendance and fund raising efforts by the BPO have continued to spike upwards largely because of Falletta’s presence.

JoAnn Falletta has really taken the orchestra to the next level,” said Louis Ciminellio, BPO board chairman. “Her vision and leadership have raised our profile both within the community and on a national level. She’s a tremendous asset.”

Falletta and her husband, Robert Alemany, remain based in Buffalo.

Besides her work in Buffalo, Falletta is also music director of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and is principal guest conductor for the Brevard Music Center. Falletta has earned a dozen honorary doctoral degrees including only the fourth only Distinguished Academy Medallion of Distinction from the State University at New York earlier this week.