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Conductor, pianist, composer, and teacher Robert Spano is renowned worldwide for his artistry, musicianship, and his superb and distinctive communication skills.
In August 2022 he began an initial three-year term as Music Director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, having served as their Principal Guest Conductor since 2019. From 2001 to 2021 he was Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and now continues his association as Music Director Laureate. A dedicated mentor, Spano is responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous celebrated composers, conductors, and performers. He has served as Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School since 2011, where he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programmes for 630 students and young performers.
Highlights of the 2022-23 season at Fort Worth include three symphonic concerts, three chamber music programmes, and a gala concert with Yo-Yo Ma. Other engagements this season include a return visit to Houston Grand Opera to conduct Werther and concerts with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Robert Spano made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2019, leading the US premiere of Marnie, the second opera by American composer Nico Muhly. Recent concert highlights have included several world premiere performances, including Voy a Dormir by Bryce Dessner at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor; George Tsontakis’s Violin Concerto No. 3 with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; Dimitrios Skyllas’s Kyrie eleison with the BBC Symphony Orchestra; Jennifer Higdon’s Tuba Concerto performed by Craig Knox and the Pittsburgh Symphony; Melodia for piano and orchestra by Canadian composer Matthew Ricketts at the Aspen Music Festival; and Miserere by ASO bassist Michael Kurth.
In addition to his performances with the ASO, Robert Spano recently returned to his early love of composing. His most recent work, Sonnets to Orpheus, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano, was premiered in November 2020, featuring Kelley O'Connor, mezzo, and Robert on piano. Other recent compositions have included Sonata: Four Elements for piano and a song cycle, Hölderlin-Lieder, for soprano Jessica Rivera. Both works were recorded on the ASO Media label and were highly acclaimed. The Atlanta School of Composers (a group of composers whose work Spano has championed with the ASO) reflects Spano’s commitment to American contemporary music.
He has conducted all the major North American orchestras, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and his international work has included conducting the BBC Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan. His opera performances have included productions at Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and Seattle Opera, where he has twice conducted the Ring cycle.
With a discography of critically acclaimed recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon and ASO Media, Robert Spano has received four Grammy™ Awards for his recordings with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as a further four nominations.
Robert Spano is Professor of Conducting at Oberlin College and Conservatory and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University and Oberlin. He is based in Fort Worth and Atlanta, is a recipient of the Georgia Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities and is one of only two classical musicians inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
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