Multiple GRAMMY-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and Artistic Adviser of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. She was recently named one of the “Fifty Great Conductors,” past and present, by Gramophone Magazine, and has been hailed for 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.” Upon her appointment as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta became the first woman to lead a major American ensemble.

Falletta has conducted many of the world’s finest orchestras, including over a hundred orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, and South America. Her North America guest conducting appearances have included the orchestras of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Toronto, Montreal, Seattle, San Diego, New Jersey, and the National Symphony Orchestra. International appearances include the London Symphony, Liverpool, and Manchester-BBC Philharmonics, RTE Concert Orchestra (Dublin), Scottish BBC Orchestra, Czech and Rotterdam Philharmonics, Orchestra National de Lyon, Mannheim Orchestra, Real Orquesta Sinfonica de Sevilla, and the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra. Asian engagements include appearances with the Korean Broadcast Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, China National Symphony, Beijing Symphony, and the Shanghai Symphony. Falletta has introduced over 600 works by American composers, including well over 150 world premieres. ASCAP calls her “a leading force for music of our time.”

Highlights of the 2021-22 season include conducting the National Symphony for the PBS Special celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center in September 2021. Earlier this year, she conducted the National Symphony for the PBS 2021 New Year’s Eve Special, United in Song: Celebrating the Resilience of America, and returned to conduct the National Symphony in July for the 50th anniversary celebration of Wolf Trap.

This summer, she conducted the world premiere of Libby Larson’s The Supreme Four, commemorating the first four female members of the Supreme Court, as part of the Sunflower Festival honoring women in music. Highlights of recent seasons include guest conducting engagements with the Nashville Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and the Orchestre metropolitain. This season she is looking forward to guest conducting appearances in Canada, Poland, Sweden, and across the United States.
As Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, she has been credited with bringing the orchestra to an unprecedented level of national and international prominence. For the 2021-2022 season, JoAnn has programmed a series of concerts celebrating living American composers 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. The Buffalo Philharmonic has become one of the leading recording orchestras for Naxos, with two Grammy Award-winning recordings. They have returned twice to Carnegie Hall, first in 2004 after a 20-year absence, and again in 2013 as part of the Spring for Music Festival. In 2018, the BPO made their first international tour in three decades, to perform at Warsaw’s prestigious Beethoven Easter Festival where Falletta made history as the first American women conductor to lead an orchestra at the Festival. She and the BPO have been honored with numerous ASCAP awards, including the top award for Adventurous Programming. Other accomplishments include the establishment of the orchestra’s Beau Fleuve label, the founding of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition in partnership with WNED, four successful tours of Florida, and the national and international broadcast of concerts on NPR’s Performance Today, SymphonyCast, and the European Broadcasting Union.
In 2020, JoAnn Falletta concluded a long and successful tenure as Music Director of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and was named the Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Under her baton, the VSO rose to celebrated artistic heights, performing world premieres by such composers as Kenneth Fuchs, Behzad Ranjbaran, Michael Daugherty and Lowell Liebermann, forgotten gems of the classical repertoire, as well as classics, pops and family concerts in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Williamsburg. The Orchestra made critically acclaimed debuts at the Kennedy Center and New York’s Carnegie Hall, was honored with an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, and released 18 recordings, including discs on the internationally acclaimed Naxos label, Albany Records, NPR, and the orchestra’s own Hampton Roads label. Virginians have honored her with a star on Norfolk’s Legends of Music Walk of Fame, the Virginia Women in History Award, Norfolk’s Downtowner of the Year and the 50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Award from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. This summer, the Virginia Arts Festival honored Falletta with their Ovation Award in recognition of her significant impact on the arts in Hampton Roads.

With a discography of over 120 titles, JoAnn 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 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 John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan with the BPO received two Grammys in 2008. The BPO’s 2020 Naxos recording of orchestral music of Florent Schmitt recently received the Diapason d’Or Award. This July Falletta led a “dream team” for a live performance and recording for NAXOS of 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. Her most recent recording, The Four Seasons, on the Buffalo Philharmonic’s Beau Fleuve label, includes Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons featuring Nikki Chooi, and Astor Piazzolla’s Seasons in Buenos Aires, inspired by Vivaldi’s famous work, features violinist Tessa Lark.
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. In March 2019, JoAnn was named Performance Today’s Classical Woman of the Year. From 2011-14, she served as Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, with whom she made her Proms debut and recorded 6 highly acclaimed Naxos discs. She was the first woman and the first American to fill this post.

Recalling her lessons from conducting greats Leonard Bernstein, Jorge Mester, Sixten Ehrling, and Semyon Bychkov as artistic highlights of her life, 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 such as The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Mannes, and Cleveland Institute of Music, and summer program including the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Interlochen, and Brevard Music Center.

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 and The Women’s Philharmonic. She received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes School of Music, and her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School. When not on the podium, JoAnn enjoys playing classical guitar, writing, cycling, yoga and is an avid reader.