Just in: Robert Spano to step down at Atlanta

Just in: Robert Spano to step down at Atlanta


norman lebrecht

January 23, 2018

The Atlanta Symphony music director has decided to step down when he completes 20 years in the job.

Press release:

Robert Spano has announced plans to conclude his distinguished tenure as Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) in June 2021. The 2020-21 Season will mark his 20th year at the Orchestra’s helm, making him one of the longest-tenured music directors of a major U.S. orchestra. Spano is one of only four music directors to lead the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra during its 75-year history. Following the 2020-21 season, he will assume the title of Conductor Laureate of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and will continue to conduct the Orchestra on a regular basis. The 2019-20 season will mark the ASO’s 75th Season, which will be celebrated with special projects and events.

Robert Spano, Music Director, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, said:

“To end an intense artistic relationship is never an easy decision to contemplate, especially one as fruitful and inspiring as the one I have enjoyed as Music Director of this outstanding American orchestra. Twenty years is a good benchmark to balance the long-term commitment I have made to the ASO with the necessity of looking towards its future as well as my own. Accordingly, I have decided to complete my tenure as Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at the end of the 2020-21 season. I believe that together, many shared goals and dreams have been achieved. After these many years of great personal and artistic fulfillment, this is an institution that I deeply love: our devoted board members, our committed staff, our enthusiastic audiences, our talented youth orchestra, our magnificent chorus, and of course, all these extraordinary musicians who constitute the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. I look forward to many return visits in the years ahead.”



  • Mark Gresham says:

    ArtsATL: News: Robert Spano to step down from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2021


  • Jon Eiche says:

    Maestro Spano conducted the Brahms Requiem for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra when I sang in the chorus several years ago. His every gesture made his intentions clear. He was the most compelling conductor with whom I’ve ever performed.

  • Adam Stern says:

    One of the few fine conductors of his generation, and a dear gentleman to boot.

  • Olassus says:

    Good musician. No star quality.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    Is it a coincidence that there’s an opening in San Francisco around that time?

  • Larry says:

    Lots of MD changes are happening at some of the big orchestras: San Francisco,
    St Louis, Detroit, Dallas.

  • William E Ford says:

    As good as he may be, he hasn’t energized the ASO in awhile. Many guest conductors have been able to do so, however. It is likely a good move for him and the ASO.

    • Greg says:

      Agreed. His time in Atlanta has produced a number of dull performances. Well played, but ultimately boring and uninspiring. If not for his self-indulgent commitment to the trendy composers du jour, I doubt his tenure would be remembered for much of anything. He initially seemed like a breath of fresh air following the tumultuous and musically constipated reign of Yoel Levi, but novelty will only carry one so far. It will be interesting to see who assumes his position.