Conductor, pianist, composer and pedagogue Robert Spano is known worldwide for the intensity of his artistry and his distinctive communicative abilities, creating a sense of inclusion and warmth among musicians and audiences that is unique among American orchestras. Celebrating his 16th season as Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, this imaginative conductor has been responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous celebrated composers, conductors and performers, and enjoys collaborations with composers and musicians of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. 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.
The Atlanta School of Composers reflects Spano’s commitment to American contemporary music. He has led ASO performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Ravinia, Ojai and Savannah Music Festivals. Guest engagements have included orchestras such as the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago and Philadelphia Symphony Orchestras, along with Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, BBC Symphony and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. His opera performances include Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and the 2005 and 2009 Seattle Opera productions of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Mr. Spano begins the 2016-17 season with “cloth field: an art place of life,” a conceptual collaboration between Spano and choreographer Lauri Stallings, involving dancers and sculptural elements with an original score composed by Mr. Spano in 2014 for the Atlanta-based dance troupe, glo. In addition to his leadership of the ASO, Spano has recently returned to his early love of composing. His most recent works include Sonata: Four Elements for piano, premiered by Spano in August at the Aspen Music Festival, as well as a new song cycle, both to be recorded for release on the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s ASO Media label. An avid interpreter of opera and oratorio, Mr. Spano conducts John Adams’s Nixon in China at Houston Grand Opera, Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation/Creator at the Kennedy Center’s 2017 Shift Festival, featuring the ASO and ASO Chorus and conducts and records Orfeo with the ASO and ASO Chamber Chorus.
With a discography of critically acclaimed recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon and ASO Media, Robert Spano has won six Grammy Awards with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. 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 lives in Atlanta.