Conductor, pianist, composer and pedagogue Robert Spano is known worldwide for the depth and intensity of his artistry as well as his unique communicative abilities. Beginning his 14th season as Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, this imaginative conductor is an approachable artist with the innate ability to share his enthusiasm for music with an entire community and concert hall. He has quietly been responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous classically-trained composers and conductors and enjoys collaborations with composers and musicians of all ages and ability. As Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students, including Aspen’s American Academy of Conducting.
Under Maestro Spano’s guidance, the ASO and audiences explore a creative programming mix. The Atlanta School of Composers reflects his commitment to American contemporary music, thus defining a new generation of American composers. He has led ASO performances at Carnegie Hall (2014-2015 marks Spano’s ninth consecutive season as a guest of that prestigious venue), Lincoln Center, and the Ravinia, Ojai and Savannah Music Festivals. Guest engagements include the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago and Philadelphia symphony orchestras, as well as Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, BBC Symphony and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has conducted for Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and the 2005 and 2009 Seattle Opera productions of Wagner’s Ring cycles.
Following a highly successful performance of Britten’s War Requiem in Carnegie Hall and partially staged production of Verdi’s Aida in Atlanta, Spano conducted world premiere performances at the Ojai Festival of Steven Stucky’s The Classical Style, based on the Charles Rosen book with libretto by pianist and writer Jeremy Denk. The Classical Style will be reprised at Carnegie Hall in December. In addition to his hands-on leadership at The Aspen Music Festival and School, he conducts eight Festival concerts and numerous others from the piano or on the podium in the Benedict Tent and Harris Concert Hall. Of particular note is the August premiere of Spano’s Hölderlin Songs with soprano Susanna Phillips.
Maestro Spano conducts the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for thirteen weeks this season, including three world premieres and eleven Atlanta premieres. Elsewhere, he conducts Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the Houston Grand Opera and a Higdon/Chopin program with the Houston Symphony. Guest conducting engagements with symphony orchestras in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are woven with Spano’s passion for education on tour with the Curtis Institute of Music’s Orchestra (including a Jennifer Higdon world premiere viola concerto written for Roberto Diaz), seminars at University of Georgia and Keenesaw State, and a New England Conservatory Philharmonic engagement in Boston. The Atlanta concert season closes with Samson et Dalila in June 2015 with Stephanie Blythe in the title role. Robert Spano is currently completing an album of his solo piano work under water and the Hölderlin Songs, with soprano Jessica Rivera.
With a discography of critically-acclaimed recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon and ASO Media recorded over nine years, Spano has won six Grammy™ Awards with the Atlanta Symphony. An all-Vaughan Williams disc for ASO Media comprising The Lark Ascending, Dona Nobis Pacem and Symphony No. 4 is slated for release in September, 2014. Robert Spano is on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University and Oberlin. Maestro Spano was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2012 and is proud to live in Atlanta.
AUGUST 2014 -- AT THE REQUEST OF THE ARTIST, PLEASE DO NOT ALTER THIS BIOGRAPHY WITHOUT APPROVAL