Aspen Music Festival And School

Robert Spano, Music Director
Alan Fletcher, President and CEO

Robert SpanoBack To Performers

Instrumental Focus

  • conductor
  • piano

Robert Spano is one of the brightest and most imaginative conductors of his generation. As Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he has enriched and expanded its repertoire and elevated the ensemble to new levels of international prominence and acclaim. 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.

In addition to regular performances with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Spano's 2012-2013 engagements include appearances with the New World Symphony, Toronto Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony and at Carnegie Hall in New York City for three unique concerts that champion 20th- and 21st-century music and convey freshness in programming and collaboration. Robert Spano conducts three world premieres in Atlanta this season (his 12th season as Music Director); an ASO commission by Atlanta School of Composers member Michael Gandolfi and works by Marcus Roberts and Atlanta Symphony bassist Michael Kurth. A work by another Atlanta School of Composers member, Christopher Theofanidis, will also be featured this season, reflecting Mr. Spano’s and the Orchestra’s commitment to nurturing and championing music through multi-year partnerships defining a new generation of American composers.

In his first season as Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, Maestro Spano's dedication to education, community engagement and multi-faceted conducting skills were on full display.  “Made in America,” featured Robert Spano conducting Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with a big band and a trio of pianists, leading a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, appearing in recitals alongside violinist Robert McDuffie and baritone Nathan Gunn as well as working with the Aspen Chamber Symphony and Aspen Festival Orchestra in multiple concerts highlighted with works by Jennifer Higdon, Samuel Barber, Edgar Meyer, Beethoven, Schoenberg, Rachmaninoff and Bartók, among others. A passionate educator, Mr. Spano was particularly thrilled to have constant and consistent interaction with the Aspen Music School, its students and the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen (AACA). As part of the Aspen Music Festival and School, the AACA sees Mr. Spano engage with talented, rising conductors. Of his duties at the AACA, the Aspen Times Weekly quoted Mr. Spano saying, “Central. Core. Fundamental…I feel like it’s the heart of my job. And it’s why I’ve been so happy this summer. I’d taught conducting quite a bit in my life, but less and less the last 10 years. To be able to concentrate on it in this way was irresistible.

With an extensive discography of critically acclaimed recordings for Telarc and Deutsche Grammophon, Robert Spano has garnered six Grammy Awards with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. An accomplished pianist, Mr. Spano performs chamber music with many of his colleagues from the Atlanta Symphony, Boston Symphony and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Born in 1961 in Conneaut, Ohio, and raised in Elkhart, Indiana, he grew up in a musical family, composing and playing flute, violin and piano. He is a graduate of Oberlin, where he studied conducting with Robert Baustian, and continued his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with the late Max Rudolf. In 2004, at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, Mr. Spano performed under water, a work for solo piano he composed based on Debussy’s Engulfed Cathedral. The New York Times praised it as "a cohesive and often lovely solo piano work." He has been featured on CBS’s “Late Night with David Letterman,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” A&E’s “Breakfast with the Arts” and PBS’s “City Arts.” Robert Spano was named Musical America’s 2008 “Conductor of the Year.” He makes his home in Atlanta.