JoAnn Falletta to head Ulster Orchestra
Monday, May 9, 2011
The Ulster Orchestra has named JoAnn Falletta as its new principal conductor.
The first woman, and the first American, to hold the post with the Belfast-based ensemble, Falletta begins her three-year appointment with the start of the 2011-12 season. The conductor, who has given premieres of 100 works and made more than 60 recordings, is also music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony orchestras.
Falletta’s recordings have been consistently well-received in Gramophone’s pages in recent years, including the music of Frederick Converse, lesser-known Respighi and, last month, a recording of Suk’s Fairy Tale described as “full-textured, warm-hearted”. She will conduct eight concerts with the orchestra in the coming season.
“The Ulster Orchestra is one of the great orchestras of these islands and has been a cornerstone of cultural life here in good times and bad for many, many years now. It is a huge honour for me to become its principal conductor,” said Falletta.
The Ulster Orchestra spent the current season without a principal conductor, the most recent incumbent Kenneth Montgomery having completed his term in 2010, since when Paul Watkins had served as principal guest conductor.
Orchestra chief executive Declan McGovern said Falletta’s appointment was “a majority decision from our section leaders”, and also added that there will be recordings, though no details can be given at the present.
Falletta’s first concert as principal conductor will be a pre-season event at Ulster Hall on September 21.