“In 1991, a Virginia Symphony search committee made a bold move. The members auditioned six candidates vying for the position of music director/conductor and selected the only woman,” JoAnn Falletta, writes David Nicholson in Sunday’s (2/1) Daily Press (Virginia). At the time, Falletta “conducted the Long Beach (Calif.) Symphony Orchestra, the Bay Area Women’s Philharmonic of San Francisco, and the Denver Chamber Orchestra.” Falletta says she faced “the prevailing notion that women were not cut out to be symphony conductors. ‘It was a big jump for me…. It seemed very daunting at the time.’ Today Falletta’s relationship with the orchestra is as solid as ever…. She has matured into a conductor of international stature. In addition to Virginia, she has served as music director of the Buffalo (N.Y.) Philharmonic Orchestra for 15 years and is a sought-after guest conductor.” At her 1991 Virginia Symphony audition, Falletta “preceded the performance with a talk about Bartók’s [Concerto for Orchestra], and her ‘pre-concert conversations’ continue today and have grown in popularity.” The article discusses the Virginia Symphony’s 2015-16 season, to include Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, and the Bartók Concerto for Orchestra—which Falletta describes as “high points that brought back so many wonderful memories.”

Posted February 4, 2015