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JoAnn Falletta: Conductor

Get to know a Buffalonian

During her 11 years as conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro JoAnn Falletta has not only guided the orchestra to increased international prominence and the first Grammy Award in its’ 74-year history, but has also helped to turnaround the finances of the once troubled organization. Falletta, who splits time with the Virginia Symphony, returns to Buffalo on Dec. 18th to conduct the annual Holiday Pops concert, a celebration of classical and contemporary songs of the season.

Is there one performance that stands out in your mind, as your best ever and what made it so memorable?

It would be difficult to choose one best performance, but certainly the most memorable BPO concert for me was our return to Carnegie Hall in 2004. It felt like a triumph for Buffalo to have our Philharmonic back at Carnegie after an absence of almost 20 years. The orchestra played brilliantly, and I was tremendously proud to be in the middle of that extraordinary team.

Are you confident in the long term financial health of the BPO?

Absolutely! With the inspired leadership of Executive Director Dan Hart and his staff and the unfailing support of our board and volunteers, I know that the future is secure. I have never seen a community that cherishes its orchestra as much as our BPO audience does.

Do certain instruments in an orchestra tend to attract specific personality types?

I am amazed that certain instruments and characters seem to “go together”. Are young people drawn to the oboe or violin or trumpet because of their personality traits? Or does playing an instrument from childhood mold them into a particular personality? It is a mystery I will always ponder!

Besides classical, what artists/genres would we find on your playlist?

Sting, jazz, American musical theatre, Johnny Depp, poetry collections.

Why do you think classical has stuck around while other styles of music have come and gone. Does classical music need a youthful invigoration?

Classical music is always relevant because it is filled with passion, drama, turmoil, beauty, poignancy, nobility and every other emotion that makes up our lives. It is a sound painting of who we are as human beings — and it is endlessly fascinating.

BONUS: If you could choose one contemporary artist (besides Bob Dylan, for whom you’ve already won a Grammy) to re-envision or record, whom would it be?

Paul McCartney

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