Robert Spano (Conducting '85) Appointed Music Director of Washington National Opera

Portrait of Robert Spano holding a baton while holding a baton.
The renowned conductor, pianist, composer, educator, and Curtis alumnus becomes the opera company's music director designate, effective immediately, until his three-year term begins in 2025

Robert Spano (Conducting ’85) has been appointed music director of Washington National Opera (WNO), beginning in the company’s 2025–26 season. Effective immediately, he becomes the music director designate until his initial three-year term begins in September 2025. Currently the music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Aspen Music Festival and School, Mr. Spano, was recently appointed principal conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic while the organization completes its search for a new music director. As WNO’s music director, Mr. Spano will provide musical leadership for the company, overseeing the Washington National Opera Orchestra, its chorus, and music staff. 

“I am thrilled to be joining the Washington National Opera as its next music director,” said Maestro Spano. “In 2022, I had the opportunity to work with the company and its excellent orchestra in the extraordinary commissioning project, Written in Stone. This company is well known for its vision, and I am tremendously excited to collaborate with both Timothy O’Leary and Francesca Zambello in what I know will be an exciting future.”

Maestro Spano returns to Philadelphia on March 9 at 3:00 p.m. to lead the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Ra, Mackey, and Tchaikovsky, featuring two world premieres and a late-Romantic era classic. Don’t miss James Ra’s (’04) Te Deum and Steven Mackey’s Aluminum Flowers for solo electric guitar and orchestra, featuring virtuosic guitarist and Curtis alumna Jiji (’15). The concert concludes with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s impassioned Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 (“Pathétique”).

Read the announcement from WNO HERE, and in the New York Times.

Visit Robert Spano’s official website.

Photos of Robert Spano courtesy of Jason Thrasher.