May 8, 2009
Atlanta Symphony's Robert Spano to Receive Honorary Degree
Robert Spano, Grammy-Award winning conductor and music director for the Atlanta Symphony, will receive an honorary doctor of music during Emory University’s 164th commencement May 11.
Spano joins three other honorary degree recipients this year: Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox, who will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree and deliver the keynote address at Emory’s 164th commencement ceremony; Nancy Cantor, chancellor and president of Syracuse University, who will receive a doctor of laws; and former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, currently director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine, who will receive a doctor of science.
Spano is among the most renowned conductors of his generation. Now in his eighth season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he has enriched its repertoire and elevated it to greater prominence. He has conducted the major orchestras of the United States, including those in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Among the orchestras he has led internationally are the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Czech Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Sinfonie Orchestra, BBC Scottish and BBC Symphony Orchestras, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic and Oslo Philharmonic. He has appeared with the opera companies of Chicago, Houston and Santa Fe, and at the Royal Opera at Covent Garden and Welsh National Opera.
Musical America’s 2008 “Conductor of the Year,” Spano was music director of the Ojai Festival in 2006; director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center in 2003 and 2004, where he was head of the Conducting Fellowship Program from 1998 to 2002; and music director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic from 1996 to 2004. He is on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory.
Through innovative programming, he has elevated the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to new levels of international acclaim. Spano and the ASO also have recently recorded two discs of the music of Golijov for Deutsche Grammophon: one including "Three Songs" and "Oceana," and the other, the chamber opera "Ainadamar," which was awarded two Grammys. In August 2009 Spano returns to the Seattle Opera to conduct three cycles of Wagner’s monumental "Der Ring des Nibelungen."