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JoAnn Falletta Will Conduct Kennedy Center 50th Anniversary Celebration

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The concert takes place on September 14 at 8pm.

JoAnn Falletta Will Conduct Kennedy Center 50th Anniversary Celebration

Multiple Grammy Award®-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta will conduct the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) as part of The Kennedy Center's 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert, on September 14 at 8pm. The concert THE KENNEDY CENTER at 50 will be broadcast nation-wide on October 1 at 9pm EST on PBS, PBS.org, and the PBS video app. Echoing "An American Pageant for the Arts," the 1962 fundraising telecast for the National Cultural Center hosted by Leonard Bernstein, one of Falletta's early teachers, this special celebration will be hosted by Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald with special guest Caroline Kennedy. Falletta will share the podium with conductors Steven Reineke and Thomas Wilkins.

"I am thrilled to be part of this important milestone in the arts of our Country. The Kennedy Center's 50th birthday is a wonderful moment to celebrate the Center's illustrious history" says Falletta. Works to be conducted by Falletta include Bernstein's Candide Overture, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with soloist Ray Chen, Rachmaninoff's Spring Waters featuring Renée Fleming, and Somewhere Over the Rainbow, with Fleming and Kellie O'Hara. Additional artists on the star-studded event include Elizabeth Acevedo, LaTasha Barnes, Herman Cornejo, Cassandra Trenary, Randall Goosby, Lucille Lortel, John Manzari, Leo Manzari, Christian McBride, Keb' Mo', Rachael Price, the Punch Brothers, Tony Yazbeck, Abigail Barlow, Emily Bear, Joshua Henry, Robert Glasper, David Henry Hwang, the original cast of Soft Power, Bettye Lavette, Gaby Moreno, Kelly Marie Tran, Zhu Wang, and Mo Willems in a world premiere collaboration with Artistic Advisor to the NSO, Ben Folds.


Falletta has a long standing relationship with the Kennedy Center having conducted high profile events throughout her career. This year, she led the National Symphony for the PBS 2021 New Year's Eve Special, United in Song: Celebrating the Resilience of America. In June, Falletta, who is one of the world's foremost advocates for women conductors, composers, and musicians, led the NSO in a gala performance celebrating the 50th anniversary of Wolf Trap honoring women in music. Along with Falletta, the concert featured soprano Christine Goerke, pianist Joyce Yang, and actress and singer Cynthia Erivo. In 2017, she conducted the NSO at Wolf Trap in a program that included Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 and Orff's Carmina Burana with a choir made up of several hundred voices. In May 2009, she conducted the NSO at the 2009 Kennedy Center Spring Gala, A Celebration of Women in the Arts, an event that featured an unprecedented number of female performers who shaped the collective landscape of the arts. Earlier in her career, as Music Director of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, she conducted the orchestra's highly acclaimed Kennedy Center debut in January 2000 as part of the prestigious Washington Performing Arts Society Series.

JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, and Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and Artistic Adviser to the Hawaii Symphony and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. As Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta became the first woman to lead a major America ensemble. She is now one of only 4 Americans, and the only woman, holding the role of Music Director of the top forty American orchestras.

With a discography of almost 120 titles, Falletta is a leading recording artist for Naxos and has won two individual Grammy Awards; in 2021 for Richard Danielpour's The Passion of Yeshua, and in 2019, as conductor of the London Symphony in the Best Classical Compendium category for Spiritualist by Kenneth Fuchs. Her Naxos recording of John Corigliano's Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan received two Grammys in 2008. Her 2020 Naxos recording of orchestral music of Florent Schmitt with the Buffalo Philharmonic recently received the Diapason d'Or Award. Her most recent recording, The Four Seasons, on the Buffalo Philharmonic's Beau Fleuve label, includes Vivaldi's The Four Seasons featuring Nikki Chooi, and Astor Piazzolla's Seasons in Buenos Aires, inspired by Vivaldi's famous work, features violinist Tessa Lark. This season will see the Naxos release by the BPO of Poem of Ecstasy by Scriabin and in July Falletta led a "dream team" for a live performance and recording for NAXOS of the complete William Walton Façade, with narrators Kevin Deas, Hila Plitmann and Minnesota Public Radio Host Fred Child, and the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players. The recording, scheduled for release in the spring of 2022, will introduce material never heard before, and mark the 100th anniversary of William Walton's youthful masterpiece.


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