Robert Spano

Music Director

Robert Spano
Endowed Robert Reid Topping Chair

Conductor, pianist, composer and pedagogue Robert Spano is known for his unique communicative abilities.  In 13 seasons as Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, this imaginative conductor has quietly been responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous classically-trained composers and conductors.   As Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students, including Aspen’s American Academy of Conducting.

The Atlanta School of Composers reflects Spano’s commitment to American contemporary music. He has led ASO performances at Carnegie Hall (2014-2015 marks Spano’s ninth consecutive season as a guest of that prestigious venue), Lincoln Center, and the Ravinia, Ojai and Savannah Music Festivals.  Guest engagements include 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.  He has conducted for Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and the 2005 and 2009 Seattle Opera productions of Wagner’s Ring cycles.  

Following Britten’s War Requiem in Carnegie Hall and Verdi’s Aida in Atlanta, Spano conducted the world premiere of Steven Stucky’s The Classical Style in Ojai and will reprise the opera at Carnegie Hall in December.  A particular highlight in Aspen was the August premiere of his Hölderlin Songs with soprano Susanna Phillips and, in September, Spano joins Atlanta based dance company glo for four performances of his new solo piano work Tanz III. 

Maestro Spano conducts three world premieres with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and joins both the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Symphony.  Guest conducting in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is woven among Spano’s passion for education and tours with the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory Philharmonic. 

Recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon and ASO Media, have received six Grammy™ Awards with an all-Vaughan Williams released in September.   Spano 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. Maestro Spano is one of two classical musicians inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and is proud to live in Atlanta.