Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 28 January 2015

JoAnn Falletta becomes Ulster Orchestra's first female conductor

The Ulster Orchestra will start its new programme on a high note after appointing its first woman to the role of principal conductor.

American JoAnn Falletta succeeded Ulsterman Kenneth Montgomery, who retired some time ago.

She is the first woman and the first American to be appointed to this prestigious post, which is one of the most important roles in the arts and cultural life of Northern Ireland.

JoAnn, who is the Grammy award-winning music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in New York, has been described by the New York Times as “one of the finest conductors of her generation”.

She has been guest conductor with the Los Angeles and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony.

Talking to the Belfast Telegraph she said: “The Ulster Orchestra is one of the great orchestras of these islands and it has been a cornerstone of cultural life here in good times and bad for many years. So it is a huge honour for me to become its principal conductor.”

JoAnn conducted the Ulster Orchestra for the first time last year during one the BBC’s Invitation Concerts.

She described it as “a wonderful experience” and added: “I loved the spontaneity and energy of the musicians and I am so looking forward to exploring a repertoire that is rich and diverse in the coming season.”

The orchestra's new programme for the 2011-12 season is due to be announced today.

JoAnn will conduct the Orchestra in a new pre-season concert in the Ulster Hall on Wednesday, September 21.

She is 12th in a long list of distinguished conductors in the history of the Ulster Orchestra, which was formed in 1966.

They include Bryden Thompson, Vernon Handley, Yan Pacal Tortelier, and most recently, Kenneth Montgomery.

For more information visit

Story so far

JoAnn Falletta, was born on February 27, 1954, in Queens, New York City. She is regarded by the New York Times as “one of the finest conductors of her generation” and is currently the music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in New York and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. She has presented more than 100 world premieres of classical compositions and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers has described her as a “leading force” in music.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Nightlife Galleries


Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News


Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant


Joining a discussion group will be lots of fun. You'll enjoy brainstorming with fellow visionaries. The idea for a community improvement project is worth developing. You and your neighbours will benefit from a beautiful gathering spot. It's easy to feel alienated in this technological age. Create a space where you can escape computers, telephones and artificial lighting. Don't be surprised when you feel compelled to visit this sanctuary every day. Spending time outdoors will make you more relaxed and productive.More