JoAnn Falletta

Music Director

Multiple Grammy Award-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center, and Artistic Adviser to the Hawaii Symphony and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. Recently named as one of the 50 great conductors of all time by Gramophone Magazine, she is hailed for her work as a conductor, recording artist, audience builder and champion of American composers.

Upon her appointment as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta became the first woman to lead a major American ensemble and has been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to an unprecedented level of national and international prominence. The Buffalo Philharmonic will celebrate many living American composers this coming year including Adolphus Hailstork, Gabriela Lena Frank, Kenneth Fuchs, David Ludwig, Carlos Simon, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Russell Platt, Daron Hagen, Jessie Montgomery, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Wang Jie.

Her recent and upcoming North American guest conducting includes the Nashville Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and Orchestre metropolitain. Internationally, she has conducted many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, and South America. Pending further national and international guidance on the current COVID-19 pandemic, she is looking forward to guest conducting appearances in Canada, Poland, Sweden, and across the US this season.

With a discography of over 120 titles, Falletta is a leading recording artist for Naxos. She has won two individual Grammy Awards, including the  2021 GRAMMY® Award  for Best Choral Performance as Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic in the world premiere Naxos recording, Richard Danielpour’s “The Passion of Yeshua”. In 2019, she won her first individual Grammy Award as conductor of the London Symphony in the Best Classical Compendium category for Spiritualist, her fifth world premiere recording of the music of Kenneth Fuchs. Her Naxos recording of Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan received two Grammys in 2008. Her 2020 Naxos recording of orchestral music of Florent Schmitt with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra recently received the Diapason d’Or Award. Recent and upcoming releases by the BPO for Naxos include the complete William Walton Façade, with narrators Kevin Deas, Hila Plitmann, and Minnesota Public Radio Host Fred Child, and the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players. The recording, scheduled for release in the spring of 2022, will introduce material never heard before, and mark the 100th anniversary of William Walton’s youthful masterpiece. This season will also see the Naxos release  by the BPO  of Poem of Ecstasy by Scriabin.

Falletta is a member of the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has served by presidential appointment as a Member of the National Council on the Arts during the Bush and Obama administrations, and is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards. She has introduced over 500 works by American composers, including well over 100 world premieres. ASCAP has honored her as “a leading force for music of our time”. In 2019, JoAnn was named Performance Today’s Classical Woman of The Year, calling her a “tireless champion, and lauding her “unique combination of artistic authority and compassion, compelling musicianship and humanity.”

Falletta is a strong advocate and mentor for young professional and student musicians. She has led seminars for women conductors for the League of American Orchestras and established a unique collaboration between the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Mannes College of Music to give up-and-coming conductors professional experience with a leading American orchestra. In 2018, she served on the jury of the Malko Competition in Denmark. She has had great success working with young musicians, guest conducting orchestras at top conservatories and summer programs at the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Interlochen, and Brevard Music Center, and Artistic Advisor at CIM.

She 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 and The Women’s Philharmonic.

After earning her bachelor’s degree at Mannes, Falletta received master’s and doctoral degrees from the Juilliard School. When not on the podium, JoAnn enjoys playing classical guitar, writing, cycling, yoga, and is an avid reader.