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. Approaching his fifteenth season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he has quietly been responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous classically trained composers and conductors. As music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs, including the Aspen Conducting Academy. Mr. Spano’s commitment to American contemporary music is evident in his spearheading of The Atlanta School of Composers, cultivating a new generation of American composers.
Mr. Spano has led ASO performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Ravinia, Ojai, and Savannah music festivals. Recent guest engagements include the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia symphony orchestras, 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 Seattle Opera in their 2005 and 2009 productions of Wagner’s Ring cycle.
Recent highlights include Britten’s War Requiem at Carnegie Hall, Verdi’s Aida in Atlanta, and the World Premiere of Steven Stucky’s The Classical Style in Ojai and its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall in December 2014. In Aspen Spano’s Hölderlin Songs were premiered in August 2014 with soprano Susanna Phillips. Spano joined Atlanta-based dance company glo in September for four performances of his new solo piano work Tanz III.
This past season, Maestro Spano conducted two world premieres with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation/Creator and Michael Gandolfi’s Imaginary Numbers) and joined the Houston Grand Opera for Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Houston Symphony for a Higdon/Chopin program. Guest conducting engagements brought him to Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore, in addition to a U.S. tour with the Curtis Institute of Music and an engagement with the New England Conservatory Philharmonic.
Mr. Spano’s recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon and ASO Media have received six Grammy Awards, and he released an all–Vaughan Williams disc last September. Spano is on faculty at Oberlin Conservatory and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University, and Oberlin. Maestro Spano is one of two classical musicians inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and is proud to live in Atlanta.