HAMBURG, N.Y. – JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra who has been acclaimed by The New York Times as “one of the finest conductors of her generation,” will deliver the 2012 commencement address at Hilbert College’s 51st annual commencement ceremony being held at 1 p.m. May 12 in the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg. She will also be recognized at Hilbert’s commencement with an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
Marking her 13th season as BPO’s music director, Falletta has been credited with bringing the orchestra to a new level of national and international prominence. In 2009, for the first time in its history, the BPO won two Grammy awards for best classical performance and best classical composition for its CD “John Corigliano: Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan; Three Hallucinations.” The following year Falletta led the BPO in a five-city Florida Friends Tour, the orchestra’s first multi-city tour since 1988.
Under her leadership, the BPO has made an unprecedented number of highly regarded recordings and entered into a multi-disc contract with Naxos, representing the first commercial recording contract the orchestra has had with an international label in more than 20 years. In 2009, Falletta and the BPO had two world premiere discs released on the Naxos label.
Falletta, who also serves as music director of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, has been invited to guest conduct many of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. Among her guest conducting appearances have included the Netherlands Radio Orchestra, National Philharmonic of Lithuania, Warsaw National Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan, Northwest German Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the orchestras of Dallas, Toronto, New Jersey, Seattle, Honolulu, Utah, Colorado, Louisville, and San Antonio. She has also guest conducted more than 100 orchestras throughout North America.
Falletta has received many prestigious conducting awards, including the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award, the coveted Stokowski Competition, the Toscanini, Ditson and Bruno Walter Awards for conducting, and the American Symphony Orchestra League’s John S. Edwards Award. In addition, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) honored Falletta with her 10th ASCAP Award in 2008. Most recently, she was appointed to serve as a member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Hailed by ASCAP as a “leading force for the music of our time,” Falletta has introduced more than 400 works by American composers, including over 80 world premieres. She has also embarked on a multi-year recording project of the lost works of Marcel Tyberg, a brilliant Austrian composer and Holocaust victim. In honor of her outstanding leadership in the Marcel Tyberg Musical Legacy project, she received the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies Award.
Falletta’s growing discography, which includes more than 50 titles, consists of recordings with the BPO, London Symphony, Virginia Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, among others. What’s more, the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition has brought international acclaim and attention to the classical guitar, the Buffalo region and the BPO.
A member of the Western New York Women’s Hall of Fame, Falletta has been named Buffalo and Erie County’s Artist of the Year, inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, and earned a star on Norfolk’s Legends of Music Walk of Fame in recognition of her impact on the appreciation of classical music in Hampton Roads and Virginia.
Falletta received master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School and an undergraduate degree from the Mannes College of Music.