Spano Will Leave the Atlanta Symphony After 20 Years

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Spano Will Leave the Atlanta Symphony After 20 Years

Post by lennygoran » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:19 pm

Robert Spano Will Leave the Atlanta Symphony After 20 Years


The conductor Robert Spano, who made the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra a force to be reckoned with in contemporary American music, announced on Tuesday that he would step down as music director in 2021, after completing his 20th season.

Mr. Spano, 56, is the fourth music director in the orchestra’s history, and he used his tenure to champion new music, regularly programming works by living composers — including Jennifer Higdon, Michael Gandolfi, Osvaldo Golijov and Christopher Theofanidis — who he presented to audiences as “the Atlanta School of Composers.” During his tenure to date, the orchestra has performed 49 world premieres, commissioned 28 works and co-commissioned another 13.

“The thought of leaving is overwhelming, but it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Spano said in a telephone interview. “Twenty years just seemed like a good benchmark to say, O.K., time for something new — for me, for the orchestra, for everybody. And that’s healthy.”

He leaves behind a legacy of Grammy-winning recordings. One of them — his 2006 recording of Mr. Golijov’s opera “Ainadamar,” featuring the acclaimed Atlanta Symphony Chorus — won two Grammys, for best opera recording and best contemporary composition.

When the orchestra’s management, struggling with deficits, locked its players out in 2014, for the second time in two years, Mr. Spano took the rare step for a music director of speaking publicly on behalf of the musicians, more than 40 percent of whom had joined the orchestra during his tenure.

He lamented that the players had “been asked to leave the building,” leaving Atlanta “with a deafening silence.” When the lockout ended, he worked with the orchestra’s board to raise more than $27 million to restore 11 positions.

“I think that’s a great sign of recovery,” Mr. Spano said in the interview, noting that there was more work to be done. “There’s a lot of room for hope.”

Mr. Spano kept the orchestra’s profile high with tours, including to Carnegie Hall, and recordings. During his penultimate season, in 2019-20, the orchestra will celebrate its 75th anniversary with a series of special projects and events.

He said that he hoped to be able to devote more time to composing and to conducting opera, and that he plans to continue as the music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, a prestigious summer academy. Mr. Spano added that he had been particularly gratified by the way Atlanta audiences had embraced new music — and said that he had gone out of his way to play more than just one piece by the living composers he showcased; to play those pieces more than once; to record them; to play them on tours; and to play them at youth concerts.

Now, Mr. Spano said, Atlanta audiences want even more new music. “I get as many complaints for more Higdon,” he said, “as I do for more Beethoven.” ... collection

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Re: Spano Will Leave the Atlanta Symphony After 20 Years

Post by John F » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:56 am

20 years ago, Spano was widely considered a rising star. He was even rumored to be in line to succeed Seiji Ozawa at the Boston Symphony. But that didn't happen, and nobody thinks that way any more; as far as I know, he hasn't been seriously considered for an orchestra at a higher level, nor does he appear to have positioned himself to get such an offer after he leaves Atlanta. Whether that's because of limited ambition or limited talent or something else, I couldn't say.
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Re: Spano Will Leave the Atlanta Symphony After 20 Years

Post by THEHORN » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:06 pm

I haven't heard a lot of Spano's conducting , buI was very much impressed with his DG recording of Osvaldo Golijov's opera "Ainadamar " with Dawn Upshaw .
The Atlanta symphony is an excellent orchestra and I think there are quite a few distinguished conductors around who would be glad to be named its next music director .

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