JoAnn Falletta | Robert Shoup | Benjamin Rous

JoAnn Falletta, Music Director |  Back to top

JoAnn Falletta is internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music, an inspiring artistic leader, and a champion of American symphonic music. An effervescent and exuberant figure on the podium, she has been praised by The Washington Post as having "Toscanini's tight control over ensemble, Walter's affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski's gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein." Acclaimed by The New York Times as "one of the finest conductors of her generation", she serves as the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of both the Phoenix Symphony and the Brevard Music Center.

Ms. Falletta is invited to guest conduct many of the world's finest symphony orchestras. Her upcoming guest conducting highlights include return engagements with the Warsaw, Detroit, Phoenix, Krakow, Puerto Rico and Hawaii Symphony Orchestras and debuts with the Gothenburg Symphony, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Belgrade Philharmonic, Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais and the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall.

She has guest conducted more than a hundred orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Her North America guest conducting appearances have included the orchestras of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Seattle, San Diego, Montreal, Toronto and the National Symphony and international appearances have included the London Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Korean Broadcast Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, China National Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester BBC Philharmonic, Scottish BBC orchestra, Orchestra National de Lyon, Mannheim Orchestra, Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra, among others. Ms. Falletta's summer activities have taken her to numerous music festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood, the Hollywood Bowl, Wolf Trap, Mann Center, Meadow Brook, OK Mozart Festival, Grand Teton Festival and the Brevard Festival. She is also Artistic Adviser to the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.

Falletta is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards including the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award, the coveted Stokowski Competition, and the Toscanini, Ditson and Bruno Walter Awards for conducting, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra League's prestigious John S. Edwards Award. She is an ardent champion of music of our time, introducing over 500 works by American composers, including more than 110 world premieres. Hailing her as a "leading force for the music of our time", she has been honored with eleven ASCAP awards. Ms. Falletta serves as a Member of the National Council on the Arts.

The Virginia Symphony's 2013-14 season highlights included a performance of the Strauss Alpine Symphony at the Virginia Arts Festival. In 2012, the Orchestra made their first CD for the NAXOS label with a collection of five pieces, including two world premieres, by composer Adolphus Hailstork.

Since stepping up to the podium as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in the fall of 1999, Maestro Falletta has been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to a new level of national and international prominence. Under her direction, the Buffalo Philharmonic has become one of the leading orchestras for the Naxos label, earning a double Grammy Award in 2009 for their recording with soprano Hila Plitmann of John Corigliano's Mr. Tambourine Man, and six Grammy nominations. This season, the BPO will once again be featured on national broadcasts of NPR's Performance Today and SymphonyCast, and international broadcasts through the European Broadcasting Union.

As Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, Falletta conducts many of the main season programs and select regional concerts and other events. She is the first American and the first woman to lead the Orchestra. Falletta made her Proms debut in Royal Albert Hall in August 2012 The Orchestra has a unique exclusive broadcast partnership with BBC, under which its concerts are recorded and streamed for internet broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, Radio Ulster and BBC TV. Under Falletta's leadership, the Ulster Orchestra entered into a multi-year recording relationship with Naxos, which released the Orchestra's discs of music of Gustav Holst in 2012 and Ernest John Moeran in 2013. The Orchestra recorded a second Moeran disc and a recording of music of John Knowles Paine, to be released in the fall of 2013. In the 2013-14 season, the Ulster Orchestra will record four additional CDs for Naxos, including a second disc of music of Johns Knowles Paine, and music of Victor Herbert, John Field and Samuel Coleridge Taylor.

Her Naxos recordings include the double Grammy Award winning disc of works by John Corigliano and Grammy nominated discs of works of Tyberg, Dohnányi, Fuchs, Schubert, Respighi, Gershwin, Hailstork and Holst. Last season saw the release of two new Naxos discs by Falletta with each of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Ulster Orchestra. She recorded seven additional Naxos discs last season, including two with the London Symphony. Maestro Falletta's growing discography, which currently includes over 75 titles, consists of recordings with the London Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Czech National Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia and Women's Philharmonic, among others.

Ms. Falletta received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes College of Music in New York and her master's and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School.


Robert Shoup, Chorusmaster/Staff Conductor | Back to top

Robert Shoup is in his 17th season as Chorus Master and Staff Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, with national and international conducting credits that include the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, ensembles from the Prague Radio Orchestra and Czech State Philharmonic, and numerous choral ensembles. He served as the Music Director of the all professional Virginia Chorale from 1997-2007.

Robert Shoup's choruses have been described by critics as "totally enthralling" and "completely mesmerizing," and he has spearheaded numerous collaborations that have included music, dance and visual arts. His ensembles have been featured on numerous recordings, including two discs for the Naxos label (Hailstork and Stravinsky). He served as Assistant Music Director for the Virginia Symphony and Virginia Arts Festival's highly acclaimed production of the Leonard Bernstein "Mass" and cordinated the collaborating choruses for 2012 performances and recording of Mahler's Eighth symphony known as the "Symphony of a Thousand."

His achievements include the creation and coordination of "American Voices", a two week-long festival of American choral music with the Virginia Chorale and the VSO. The project earned one of seven major National Endowment for the Arts "American Masterpieces: Choral Music" grants. Shoup also prepared a nationally recruited choir of over 1,800 singers for the 400th Anniversary celebration of Jamestown.

Mr. Shoup is also a singer whom the Pittsburgh Post Gazette called Shoup "an especially fine tenor." His vocal performances have included the role of John Adams in the world premiere performance of Adolphus Hailstork's Crispus Attucks, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Fort Collins (CO) Symphony. Mr. Shoup is the founding Artistic Director of CREATOrS, Inc., for which he is composing the score for a major theatrical project related to a true story in subsaharan Africa.

Shoup holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Education (voice) from Duquesne University, and a Master's degree in Conducting in the studio of Grammy winning conductor Robert Page at Carnegie Mellon University.



Benjamin Rous, Resident Conductor | Back to top

Admired for his dynamism on the podium, Benjamin Rous began his tenure as Associate Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and quickly became a favorite among audiences throughout the Hampton Roads region.  Beginning with the 2013-2014 season, he has been promoted to Resident Conductor and has taken on an expanded role in the VSO's calendar.  He performs on every VSO series including Classics, Regional Classics, Pops, Young People's Concerts, PB&J Family Concerts, and multiple series in outdoor venues.  In the summers he serves as faculty conductor at Greenwood Music Camp in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

During the 2013-2014 season he will debut with the Santa Fe Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic.  In past seasons he has appeared in concert with, among others, the National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa, Ontario), Ensemble Orchestral de Paris (Vendome, France), the Illinois Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and on St. Louis's Pulitzer Concerts with musicians of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.  In March of 2013, Rous was featured in the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview with the Jacksonville Symphony, sponsored by the League of American Orchestras.

In 2010 Rous completed two years of work as Assistant Conductor of The Phoenix Symphony, where he led Symphony Connections, Classroom, Family, and Outdoor concerts, and presented a full season of Musically Speaking preconcert talks.  He also conducted the Phoenix Youth Symphony in a memorable season of intense rehearsals and refined, energetic performances.  In his final month in Phoenix, Rous made his subscription debut with the Phoenix Symphony, conducting the Crouching Tiger Concerto by Tan Dun and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony on short notice.

During his undergraduate years at Harvard, Rous concentrated in Music, taking courses with Robert Levin in chamber music and historical performance practice, and submitting his composition Concerto For Six as an undergraduate thesis.  While at Harvard, he served as Music Director of the Bach Society Orchestra, played baroque violin in the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra, and conducted his first opera performances.  In the following years, he was Music Director for a bold bilingual production of Bizet's Carmen at Lowell House Opera, and worked as a chamber musician and violin teacher in Community MusicWorks, a revolutionary urban string-quartet residency and after school music program in Providence, RI.  Rous went on to study conducting with Kenneth Kiesler at the University of Michigan, where he also studied harpsichord and continuo and pursued his interest in dance.  In the summer of 2006 he was selected as an Academy Conductor at the Aspen Music Festival, where he worked under the guidance of David Zinman and George Manahan, and he has also participated in master courses with Kurt Masur, Marin Alsop, and Lorin Maazel.

As a violinist, Rous recently performed in The Mahler Chamber Orchestra and in Orchestra Mozart (Bologna, Italy), under the batons of Claudio Abbado and Daniel Harding.  With Abbado and The Mahler Chamber Orchestra, he spent a two-week residency in Caracas, Venezuela, giving chamber music coachings to top students of El Sistema, and performing in side-by-side concerts with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra.  He has regularly played violin and viola in the Arcturus Chamber Ensemble (Carlisle, MA) since its inception in 2000.  Mr. Rous's compositions have been performed by the Portland (ME) Youth Symphony, the New England Conservatory Preparatory String Orchestra, and the Fromm Players at Harvard.