Spano reflects on career at Atlanta Symphony and the “Atlanta School of Composers”

Posted on: April 23, 2018

Orchestra conductors “rarely don horsehead masks and dance around the stage,” writes Bo Emerson in Thursday’s (4/19) Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But these kinds of things happen at a Robert Spano concert, and did happen at a [2014] performance of … ‘cloth/field’ [with artist Lauri Stallings]…. His career as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra … began in 2001 and will end with the 2020-21 season…. Spano’s orchestra has performed 28 ASO commissions … 49 world premieres and 32 Atlanta and U.S. premieres. ‘When I came here, I heard …  people … saying you can’t do new music there,’ he said…. ‘But that hasn’t been my experience at all.’ … The composers he championed—including Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, Michael Gandolfi and others—were tonal, tuneful, and influenced by pop or world music.… Spano came up with the audacious concept of calling them the Atlanta School of Composers…. ‘It’s a discernible shift aesthetically in the history of American music,’ he said … ‘like looking back and seeing the change from the Baroque to the Classical, from the Classical period to the Romantic.… It was a recognition of what had been transpiring.’ ”

Posted April 23, 2018

Pictured: Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Jeff Roffman