Introducing JoAnn Falletta, finalist for the 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to introduce you to the finalists for the 2019 ATHENA Awards,® which recognize contributions made by individuals to advance the status of women in the Buffalo Niagara region.

We’ll profile each finalist in the weeks leading up to the awards ceremony luncheon on Tuesday, June 4, at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Check back every Wednesday to meet these exceptional women and learn more about their important work in the Buffalo Niagara region.

And if you’d like to attend the ATHENA Awards® Luncheon, the region’s most prestigious event dedicated to the professional accomplishments of those who work to advance women, you can get tickets here.

Meet This Week’s ATHENA Leadership Award® Finalist

JoAnn Falletta
Music Director
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

In the 2019-20 season, JoAnn Falletta celebrates her 20th anniversary as music director of the renowned Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO). The New York Times called JoAnn “one of the finest conductors of her generation” and she currently serves as music director of the BPO and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and principal guest conductor of the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina.

Upon her appointment as music director of the BPO, JoAnn became the first female conductor to lead a major American ensemble. She has been credited with bringing the BPO to a new level of national and international prominence. JoAnn has guest conducted over 100 orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa.

When she is not on the podium conducting, JoAnn volunteers providing mentorship for young women conductors, and advocates for the arts with people of all ages, especially young people. JoAnn is a member of the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served as a Member of the National Council on the Arts.


First Job

JoAnn’s first job was as music director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra.

Career Highlights

With many highlights during her long professional career, JoAnn points to performing at Carnegie Hall, winning a GRAMMY®, and leading a European tour with the BPO as significant milestones. Her recorded works have earned three GRAMMY® Awards as well as 10 GRAMMY® nominations.

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Her Career

“Be yourself.”

Advice to Give to a Woman Just Starting in the Workplace

“Help others succeed.”

About being an ATHENA Award® Finalist

“I am deeply honored to be a finalist because the award speaks to all that I have valued as a professional woman. The mentorship of young women musicians, the support of women in all professions, the campaign against prejudice in all forms have been at the foundation of my professional and personal life, and to be named a finalist really validates the ideals I hold most strongly.”

On Buffalo Niagara

“The incredible Buffalo Philharmonic, the high quality of life here, and the extraordinary people are what I enjoy most about Buffalo Niagara.”

Favorite Spot in Buffalo

“Kleinhans Music Hall.”

Lightning Round: Added Insights
  • Guilty Pleasure: “Binge-reading mysteries.”
  • My Superpower: “Music!”
  • Best Describes Me: “Open-minded.”
  • Most Likely To: “Try to convince you to come to a concert.”
  • Best At: “Studying musical scores—my passion!”


Attend the ATHENA Awards® Luncheon

The ATHENA Awards® Luncheon is the region’s most prestigious event recognizing the professional accomplishments of exceptional individuals who are dedicated to the advancement of women. Be there when the winners are announced.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
153 Franklin Street | Buffalo, NY 14202

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