JoAnn Falletta will remain at the helm of the Buffalo Philharmonic for another six years.
Falletta, already the longest-tenured music director in the history of the Buffalo Philharmonic, received a contract extension that was formally announced at the final concert of the BPO's 2014-15 M&T Bank Classics Season May 30.
Since Falletta came to the BPO in 1999, she has revitalized the orchestra's recording program, establishing a house label, Beau Fleuve, and working with the international classical music giant Naxos to release 32 CDs. She has taken the orchestra to Carnegie Hall twice, mounted two multi-city tours of Florida with a third in the works, and led the orchestra in performances in Saratoga Springs and Utica, with a performance at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake planned for this summer.
The orchestra has performed multiple world premieres under her direction, including several pieces commissioned for the BPO and its musicians. A champion of the music of our times, she has earned several ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. The orchestra's performances are heard nationwide on the syndicated "Performance Today" program, and its CDs are played on classical stations all over the world. With her leadership, the orchestra received its first Grammy Award for the 2009 recording of John Corigliano's "Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan."
Through partnerships with colleges, universities, museums and dance and theater companies, Falletta has integrated the orchestra into the Western New York community to an unprecedented degree. The orchestra worked with Irish Classical Theatre Co. and LehrerDance last fall to present Moliere's play "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme" with Richard Strauss' music. The Charles Ives festival incorporated dance, music, art and literature and took place at the Burchfield Penney Art Gallery, Buffalo and Erie County Library, and University at Buffalo. The orchestra performs annually at Canisius College and at UB, and worked with the Albright-Knox, Burchfield Penney and Darwin Martin House to feature images from its collections on the covers of a series of CDs.
In 2012, she worked with UB to bring poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko to Buffalo for readings and for a performance of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13, "Babi Yar," which was inspired by his works.
Falletta is based in Buffalo, and also serves as the music director of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the principal guest conductor of the Brevard Music Center. She is an in-demand guest conductor, and has led orchestras in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America, as well as throughout the U.S. She has been awarded 12 honorary doctoral degrees and prestigious international conducting awards such as the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award and the Toscanini Award for Conducting.
"JoAnn Falletta has really taken the orchestra to the next level. Her vision and leadership have raised our profile both within the community and on a national level. She's a tremendous asset, and we're pleased that she will be remaining with us," said Louis Ciminelli, BPO board chairman. "The community has come to respect and trust her, the musicians have thrived artistically under her leadership, and the board and staff work extremely well with her. We couldn't be happier to announce this piece of news."
"I am truly happy to be able to spend another six years with the BPO in a city I have loved for 15 years," Falletta said of her contract extension. "It is a dream situation for a conductor - a superb orchestra committed to excellence and to its community, an exemplary board, a visionary executive director and 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. I look forward to continuing our artistic journey together!"