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'The Americans are here': Falletta makes a splash in an exotic land

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concertgoers, enjoying the “Porgy and Bess” concert conducted May 13 and 14 by guest conductor Carl St. Clair, might well have wondered about the whereabouts of JoAnn Falletta, the BPO’s music director.

It was a natural question, seeing that Falletta has shown over and over that she can be anywhere in the world.

In this case, the answer was particularly exotic. Falletta was in a country she had never visited before. A country known for its unique culture. A region whose winters have been known to be rougher than Buffalo’s.

She was in Iceland.

“They have one of the most spectacular new halls in the world – and I am having a wonderful experience with their excellent orchestra conducting the all-American program they requested – Copland, Bernstein, Barber and Gershwin,” she wrote to The Buffalo News.

She attached a photo of herself in front of Harpa Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The Iceland Symphony tweeted a photo of her conducting, captioned, “The Americans are here.”

Falletta was joined in Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” by pianist Orion Weiss, who has performed the piece with the BPO, to audience acclaim. In her off time she took pictures and posted them on Facebook.

“Iceland is the most amazing place - extraordinary landscape, volcanoes, waterfalls, lava fields, whales and puffins, delicious fresh air, fantastic seafood and beautiful people!” she wrote. “After the concert I will have a chance to visit the famous Blue Lagoon with its healing hot springs.”

Falletta will be back at Kleinhans Music Hall to conduct Richard Strauss’ “Alpine Symphony” on June 4 and 5. The performance will be accompanied by more pictures of nature at its most beautiful. That concert will wrap up the BPO’s Classics season.


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