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PREVIEW | Multiple Grammy-Winner JoAnn Falletta To Conduct Royal Conservatory Orchestra

By Anya Wassenberg on November 13, 2023

Maestra JoAnn Falletta conducting in concert on February 15, 2015, 14:51:57 (Photo: David Adam Beloff/CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED)
Maestra JoAnn Falletta conducting in concert on February 15, 2015, 14:51:57 (Photo: David Adam Beloff/CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED)

Multiple Grammy Award winner JoAnn Falletta will visit Toronto on November 24 to conduct the Royal Conservatory Orchestra in a mixed programme. Falletta is the current 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.

Henry From, a student in The Ihnatowycz Piano Program at The Glenn Gould School and recipient of The Ihnatowycz Prize in Piano, will be the soloist for the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 during the first half of the concert.

Maestra JoAnn Falletta

JoAnn Falletta is a pioneering conductor and recording artist who has been noted for her work in building audiences, and working with young musicians and composers. As a recording artist, she has a discography of over 120 titles. Along with two Grammys under her own name, she won another two in 2008 for a recording of John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan.

Raised in Queens, New York in an Italian-American family, Falletta studied performance at the Mannes College of Music. She began her career as a professional musician, playing guitar and mandolin on occasion with the Met Opera and New York Philharmonic.

However, she was already conducting the student orchestra by her freshman year at Mannes. The faculty and administration at Mannes College were skeptical of her ambitions, but eventually consented to transferring her major to conducting. She pursued post-graduate studies at Queens College, where she earned a Masters in orchestral conducting, and then an M.M. and D.M.A. in conducting at The Juilliard School.

She has held a number of positions during a distinguished career, leading up to her current post:

  • Music director for the Jamaica Symphony Orchestra (1977 – 1989);
  • Music director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra (1983 – 1992);
  • Associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (1985 – 1989);
  • Music director of the Bay Area Women’s Philharmonic (1986 – 1996);
  • Music director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra (1989 – 2000).

She became the music director of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 1991, a position she held for 29 years. She led the VSO on tours to Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and with them, produced 18 recordings. At the end of her term, she was named the Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate.

Falletta became the first woman to lead a major American orchestra on her appointment as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic in 1998. She’s been credited with raising the Buffalo Phil’s profile both nationally and internationally.

She is known for her work as an advocate and mentor of younger artists, has led seminars for women conductors, and developed a partnership with Mannes College of Music to give young conductors professional experience with major orchestras in the US.

The Programme

The concert will consist of:

Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, op. 15 I. Maestoso II. Adagio III. Rondo: Allegro non troppo

Brahms (1833 – 1897) wrote his first piano concerto as a four-movement sonata for two pianos in its initial version. After reworking the opening, he gradually came to conceive of it as a concerto. It became his first significant composition for orchestra.

Albert Roussel: Suite No. 2 from Bacchus et Ariane, op. 43

French composer Albert Roussel (1869 – 1937) veered between Impressionism and neoclassicism in a career that spanned the inter-war years. His ballet score Bacchus and Ariane is one of his best known works.

Paul Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber I. Allegro II. Scherzo (Turandot): Moderato – Lebhaft III. Andantino IV. Marsch

Paul Hindemith (1895 – 1943) was inspired by Carl Maria von Weber’s work, as he wrote to his wife back home in Germany in 1940. “I will write what I want to write, namely, music based on those charming piano duets by Weber.”

Tickets and more information about the concert are available [HERE].

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