Monday, March 21, 2011

Robert Spano to Aspen Music Festival

The Aspen Music Festival and School has chosen Robert Spano as its next music director, starting in summer 2012 and holding the title music director designate in the interim. Spano, 49, succeeds David Zinman who quit last year just before the festival started, the result of an internal power struggle with current CEO Alan Fletcher. Fletcher has instituted major changes at the festival, causing divisiveness among staff, board and musicians, many of whom are unhappy with Fletcher.

If any one conductor can bring the flock back together, it is Robert Spano. When he arrived in Atlanta to take over as music director of the symphony some ten years ago, morale was at an all-time low. Musicians and the board were divided in their opinions about the music director and the rhetoric had gotten very heated. Within months of Spano’s arrival, the atmosphere began to change. Within a year, the orchestra was on an exciting new projectile—and playing better in the bargain.

2 comments:

Jess said...

Having grown up in Atlanta but moved away almost 5 years ago, it's interesting to read about the Atlanta Symphony's shift. There was absolutely no mention of the ASO in high school band. I might not have known it existed for years if a friend's mother didn't play in it. I don't know if high school orchestras talked about it, since my school didn't have one. You'd think that local band directors would make it a point to encourage support of an ensemble that important. How else are music lover kids supposed to be exposed to symphonies, especially in a place like Atlanta? A local culture that supports the building of a new "state of the art" public high school that has 10 tennis courts, 2 soccer fields, a shotput pitch, and no auditorium is not a great place for classical music to thrive.

Chip Michael said...

I have a post coming tomorrow on the very topic of promoting classical music - and how classical musicians, particularly in orchestras, are failing at keeping up with the times.

Thanks for the comment