Robert Spano

Music Director

Robert Spano
Endowed Robert Reid Topping Chair

Music Director Robert Spano, currently in his 13th season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, is recognized internationally as one of the most imaginative conductors today. Since 2001 he has invigorated and expanded the Orchestra’s repertoire while elevating the ensemble to new levels of international prominence and acclaim.

The Orchestra and audiences together explore a creative programming mix, recordings, and visual enhancements, such as Theater of a Concert, the Orchestra’s continuing exploration of different formats, settings, and enhancements for the musical performance experience, such as the first concert-staged performances of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic in November 2008. The Atlanta School of Composers reflects Mr. Spano’s and the Orchestra’s commitment to nurturing and championing music through multi-year partnerships defining a new generation of American composers, including Osvaldo Golijov, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, and Michael Gandolfi. Since the beginning of his tenure (to date), Mr. Spano and the Orchestra have performed over 100 concerts containing contemporary works (composed since 1950), including 15 ASO-commissioned world premieres.

Mr. Spano has a discography with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra of nine recordings, six of which have been honored with GRAMMY® awards. He has led the Orchestra's performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, as well as the Ravinia, Ojai, and Savannah Music Festivals. He has led the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia Symphony Orchestras, as well as Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, BBC Symphony, and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In addition, he has conducted for Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and the 2005 and 2009 Seattle Opera Ring cycles. Mr. Spano was Musical America's 2008 Conductor of the Year. In March 2010, Mr. Spano began a three-year tenure as Emory University’s Distinguished Artist in Residence, in which he spends three weeks each year leading intensive seminars, lecturing and presenting programs on science, math, philosophy, literature and musicology throughout the University’s campus. In its 165-year history, Emory University has honored only seven other individuals with such expansive residencies, including the Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter and author Salman Rushdie.