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.