l-r: Jamoe Barton and Robert Spano credits: (L) BreeAnne Clowdus; (R) video frame capture / ASO]

Barton and Spano receive notable arts honors

Mark Gresham | 4 DEC 2020

Jamie Barton and Robert Spano, of Atlanta’s most prominent classical musical artists have each been awarded significant new honors for their work this week.

Jamie Barton named one of Musical America’s “Artists of the Year” for 2021

Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton has been named one of three inspirational women to be will be honored as Musical America’s 2021 Artists of the Year: Agents of Change, chosen for their commitment to redefining their art forms and for their high profile contributions to the performing arts in this most challenging year of COVID-19. They will all be recognized as part of the 60th annual Musical America Awards along with Igor Levit, who was has been chosen 2021 Recording Artist of the Year, in a first-ever all-virtual edition of the Awards ceremony, to be presented via Facebook Live on December 6 at 4:00 pm ET.


A native of Rome, Georgia, Barton most recently appeared with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in their November 2017 performances of Verdi’s Requiem led by ASO principal guest onductor Donald Runnicles, and prior to that in November 2016 when she performed Edward Elgar’s Sea Pictures for solo voice and orchestra, with ASO music director Robert Spano conducting. She was to perform again with Spano and the ASO the role of Brangäne for the 2019-20 season-closing performances of Tristan und Isoldebefore they were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the Atlanta Opera, Barton was lauded for her role debut of Sister Helen Prejean in the company’s February 2019 production of Dead Man Walking. In this 2020-21 season, she is a member of the resident Atlanta Opera Company Players and recently sang in the company’s “Mezzo Extravaganza” and “Crossroads” concerts last month as part of TAO’s outdoor “Big Tent Series.”

Robert Spano honored with a Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities

Presented by the Office of the Governor, Brian P. Kemp, in partnership with Georgia Council for the Arts and Georgia Humanities, the Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities honor outstanding individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to Georgia’s civic and cultural vitality through excellence and service to the arts and humanities and have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to work in these fields. This year, Robert Spano, music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, was one of ten members of Georgia’s arts and humanities communities who were awarded with this honor following a competitive selection process from nominations submitted from around the state.


The embedded video below is cued for the segment about Spano, and includes an introduction by ASO executive director Jennifer Barlament, words of award acceptance from Spano, an excerpt from Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 performed by the ASO with Spano conducting, and
and a final words about the awards from Pat Wilson, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development, under which the Georgia Council for the Arts has operated since 2011.

The 10 recipients of the 2020 Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities are:

  • Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association, Blue Ridge
  • Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon
  • Dr. Eddie Bennett, Decatur
  • Mr. Brian Brown, Fitzgerald
  • Mr. Kevin Cole, Atlanta
  • Dr. Jim Hammond, Atlanta
  • Ms. Yvonne Grovner, Sapelo Island
  • Mr. William S. Morris III, Augusta
  • Ms. Susan Majette Murphy, Darien
  • Maestro Robert Spano, Atlanta

Although cued up to the segment about Spano, the entire 50-minute video, which features all of the recipients listed above, can be replayed start to finish here or directly on YouTube. ■