Robert Spano—conductor, pianist, composer, and teacher—is known worldwide for the intensity of his artistry and distinctive communicative abilities. After twenty seasons as music director, he continues his association with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as music director laureate. He has served as music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School since 2011 and begins an initial three-year term as music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in August 2022, currently acting as music director designate.
For the 2021–22 season, Mr. Spano will continue with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, sharing the role of artistic advisor with principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles. Highlights include an opening night program of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and “Emperor” Concerto with Garrick Ohlsson.
The 2018–19 season featured Mr. Spano’s highly-acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut, leading the U.S. premiere of Nico Muhly’s Marnie, and the conclusion of the ASO’s two-year “LB/LB” celebration commemorating Leonard Bernstein and Ludwig van Beethoven. Recent concert highlights include several world premiere performances including Bruce Dessner’s Voy a Dormir at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s; George Tsontakis’s Violin Concerto No. 3 with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; Dimitrios Skyllas’s Kyrie eleison with the BBC Symphony Orchestra; Jennifer Higdon’s Tuba Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Matthew Ricketts’s Melodia, For Piano and Orchestra at the Aspen Music Festival; and Miserere by ASO bassist Michael Kurth.
Guest engagements have included the Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Minnesota orchestras; New York and Los Angeles philharmonics; and the San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and New World symphonies, among many others. Internationally, Mr. Spano has led the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, Wroclaw Philharmonic, the Saito Kinen Orchestra, and the Melbourne and Sydney symphonies. His opera performances include Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and Seattle Opera.
With a discography of recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon, and ASO Media, Mr. Spano has garnered four Grammy™ Awards and eight nominations with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He 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. Mr. Spano is a recipient of the Georgia Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities and is one of two classical musicians inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.