Robert Spano conducts the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra on January 9, 2021. (credit: Karen Almond)

Robert Spano appointed music director of Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

EarRelevant Staff | 10 FEB 2021

Fort Worth, TX— Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra announced on Tuesday the appointment of conductor Robert Spano as the orchestra’s next music director.

Spano’s 20-year tenure as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concludes at the end of this 2020-21 season.

He has been principal guest conductor at Fort Worth since 2019, and on April 1 will become music director designate, serving in that capacity until he assumes the position of music director at FWSO on August 1, 2022, beginning an initial three-year term that runs into the summer of 2025.

  • As SPIVEY 2122_04 Alan Morrison
  • ECMSA 2122 ad
  • Spivey Hall = Jeremy Denk

Spano succeeds previous music director, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, becoming the 10th conductor to hold the position since the orchestra was founded in 1912.
Spano will continue in his role as music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School in Aspen, Colorado, a position he has held since 2011.

Notably, in contrast to the vast majority of American orchestras,
the FWSO has managed to remain financially healthy and has committed itself to continuing to safely bring live music to in-person audiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • AD ASO-2021-22-CS04 Nathalie Stultzmann
  • ASO-2122-CS03 (Ad)

Spano most recently led the FWSO last month, January 8–10 – performances which featured a chamber contingent of the orchestra performing for audiences of approximately 450 people. The program included Jennifer Higdon’s “Celestial Blue” from Dance Card, Prokofiev’s featuring Stefan Jackiw, and Dvorák’s Serenade in E major.

During his 16 months as music director designate, Spano will be closely involved in the orchestra’s efforts to transition back to pre-pandemic music-making, as health and safety guidelines permit.

Among the many aspects of the live concert experience under current pandemic conditions are social distancing in the audience and on stage, temperature screening, comprehensive testing, contact tracing, and mandatory masks in the audience and—where feasible—on stage. The FWSO has conducted more than 1,200 COVID-19 tests of musicians, administrative staff, and venue personnel, with a less than 1% positive rate. ■