Robert Spano

Music Director

Robert Spano
Endowed Robert Reid Topping Chair

Recognized as one of the most imaginative conductors of his generation, Robert Spano is currently in his 13th season as Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), where he has created a sense of inclusion, warmth, and community unique among American orchestras.

Under Mr. Spano’s guidance, the ASO and its audiences explore a creative programming mix. The Atlanta School of Composers reflects his commitment to American contemporary music, thus defining a new generation of American composers. He has led ASO performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and at the Ravinia, Ojai, and Savannah Music Festivals.

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. 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 Ring cycles.

With an extensive discography of 21 recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon, and ASO Media, Mr. Spano has garnered six Grammy Awards. Dedicated to pedagogy and multi-disciplinary studies, he has lectured on “Community” for TEDx and recently completed a three-year residency at Emory University. He was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Mr. Spano is on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory, and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University, and Oberlin. Mr. Spano served as director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center in 2003 and 2004, and from 1996 to 2004 was Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He headed the Conducting Fellowship Program at the Tanglewood Music Center from 1998 to 2002. In May 2009, Mr. Spano was awarded Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award for the advancement of American music.


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