VIDEO PODCAST: Slava Ukraini! - recorded on 24 February 2022, the day Europe woke up to the news that Vladimir Putin's Russian forces had invaded Ukraine. A fifty minute video which also features Caitríona O'Leary and Eric Fraad discussing their new film Island of Saints, and pays tribute to Joseph Horovitz, Malcolm Troup and Maria Nockin.
American conductor JoAnn Falletta was born in Brooklyn, New York on 27 February 1954 into an Italian-American family. She studied at Mannes College of Music and at Juilliard, then began her career as a guitarist and mandolin player, before serving as music director of the Jamaica Symphony Orchestra (1977-1989), music director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra (1983-1992), associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (1985-8), and music director of the Bay Area Women's Philharmonic (1986-96).
Since 1991 she has been music director of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and since 1999, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra - the two organisations that she is currently best known for working with. She has made more than seventy recordings, many with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for Naxos.
From 2011 until 2014 she was principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra - the first American and the first female conductor to hold this position.
From 2008 until 2012 she served on the US National Council on the Arts.
CD Spotlight. An Individualistic Voice - Music by French composer Florent Schmitt, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The orchestra and soloists are very fine, and the atmospheric nature of the music is beautifully captured.'
CD Spotlight. Marvellous Stuff - Orchestral music by Zoltán Kodály, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... memorably performed and recorded ...'
CD Spotlight. Beautifully Sensitive - Symphonic poems by Vítezslav Novák, heard by Roderic Dunnett. 'For anyone unfamiliar with Novák's output, a disc well worth beginning with.'
CD Spotlight. Demons or Angels? - Death and the Maiden for orchestra, heard by the late Howard Smith. '... Falletta and her Buffalo team cannot be faulted ...'
CD Spotlight. Shimmering Arrangement - A Richard Strauss first recording, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. 'JoAnn Falletta and her Buffalo team regale the listener with admirably detailed performances full of watchful sensitivity to the many magical melodies that are encrusted in this score.'
CD Spotlight. Totally Compelling - Schoenberg's arrangements of Mahler songs impress Geoff Pearce. '... I found this version very interesting and overall, more intimate ...'
CD Spotlight. Theatrical Genius - Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... a splendid complete version ...'
CD Spotlight. Early Genius - Orchestral works by the young Bartók, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... performances are consistently exciting ...'
CD Spotlight. Quite Splendid - American vocal and symphonic music, heard by Bill Newman. '... much enjoyment and interest ...'
CD Spotlight. High Spirits - Music by Dohnányi, heard by Howard Smith. '... the Buffalonians ... make their virtuosity seem almost effortless ...'
CD Spotlight. An Impressive Performance - Michael Ludwig plays music by John Corigliano, heard by Patric Standford. '... should not fail to entertain ...'
CD Spotlight. A Resounding Hurrah - Corigliano sets Dylan, recommended by Howard Smith. 'Titanic, zealous stuff.'
CD Spotlight. Essential Lyricism - The violin concertos of Ernö von Dohnányi, reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... a very impressive performance.'
No Stone Left Unturned - A book about the business of conducting, explored by Paul Sarcich