London agent moves US conductor across Trump states

London agent moves US conductor across Trump states


norman lebrecht

February 10, 2021

The American conductor Robert Spano will move in summer 2022 from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which he has led for 21 years, to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Texas, it was confirmed last night. He has a three-year music director contract.

Spano, 59, is represented by London boutique agent Linda Marks, who orchestrated the move across southern US states from her lockdown living room in London.


  • Rogerio says:

    A case of the dog wagging the tail?

  • Trump Lost says:

    Trump lost Georgia in 2020, so the title should be corrected.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      When you consider Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, Mr. Lebrecht is not exactly incorrect.

      Nasty, negative readers of this site seem to have WAY too much time on their hands. Get lives.

    • Dave T says:

      True. However, to get from Georgia to Texas he would have to move “across” states– Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana– that all went for Trump. That is if he drove, which is probably the better option these days. OK?
      For tomorrow’s political geography lesson we’ll discuss the Electoral College.

  • E Rand says:

    Georgia voted Biden. Happily, inTexas, open since May, Spano will at least have an orchestra and audience to work with. Stupid headline, Mr. Lebrecht.

    • Rogerio says:

      Howdy partner!
      I recon that most of us in the “outside world” trust Texan “openness” just ’bout as far as we can throw Texas.

    • so much for Sloppy Joe... says:

      Georgia and the entire country have been lied to by Mr. Biden.

      He’s clearly unfit and not trustworthy.

      per Forbes on January 4, 2021
      “Biden’s Final Pitch To Georgia: Vote Blue And $2,000 Checks Will ‘Go Out The Door Immediately’”

      Blacks are already offended beyond Georgia by Biden (a White male)

      Obama doesn’t have faith in Joe either as recently as this past December. Biden is too far gone mentally as we can all see.

      “Mr. Biden’s warnings on the “defund” slogan echo those of other Democrats, including former President Barack Obama.”

      • SHM says:

        You are delusional. He is doing a beautiful job so far and there is absolutely nothing wrong with his mental capabilities. You stupid fascists can’t stand it when a president is actually doing his job!!

        • Good Day says:

          You’re feeble attempt to challenge left wing and black publications only reveals you to be a racist in the Leftist mindset SHM. As you are white you further fall out of the liberal spectrum. If you are actually male SHM, you don’t even have a voice in the Democrat party any longer.

          As you don’t fit the Democrat narrative, you clearly need to accept your race and gender now places you with Republicans who do not discriminate and you can be yourself. Your black friends and single status don’t count anymore either.

          Your homosexuality leaves you a bit on the fence though depending on your bottom performance.

          • Greg Bottini says:

            What an asshole you are, “Good Day”.
            By the way, “You’re feeble attempt….”? It’s spelled *your*.

          • LMFAO 2.0 says:

            How nicely put!

            Can’t wait to see how the “limp Liberals” take Trump’s SECOND ACQUITTAL!!!!

            To think Nancy Pelosi could have used her “White Privilege” and her “Woman Card” in gleefully being deposed or simply TESTIFYING in order to inflict pain on FORMER President Donald John Trump.

            She completely let down her entire Democrat base along with the scores of her outspoken yet WIMPY cohorts!!!

            No wonder the Left is always struggling and “FIGHTING”. All that talk and no ACTION when it counted the most…LOL!

      • Greg Bottini says:

        “so much for Sloppy Joe”: you are just one of (too) many delusional MAGAts who comment on this site.
        You have lost touch with reality.
        Get help, or get lost.

  • Eric says:

    What on earth has this to do with Trump? Nothing.

    • V.Lind says:

      Agreed. This is an appointment of a well-known conductor from one major regional orchestra to another.

      • J Barcelo says:

        Well, sort of. Dallas and Atlanta are pretty comparable. Fort Worth isn’t quite in their league. But with Spano coming, who knows!

        • Amos says:

          Although the FW orchestra has been in existence longer than the ASO I would argue that the comparisons in their favor end there. Since Robert Shaw founded the ASO in the mid-60’s it has grown into a major American ensemble led by first-rate conductors and have regularly released significant recordings primarily on the Telarc label. Here is the list of FW music directors none of which, for what it’s worth, I’ve ever heard of:
          Brooks Morris (1925-1943)
          Robert Hull (interim conductor; 1957)
          Rudolf Kruger (interim conductor)
          Ralph R. Guenther (interim conductor; 1963–1965)
          Ezra Rachlin (1965–1972)
          John Giordano (1972–2000)
          Miguel Harth-Bedoya (2000-2020)

          I think it is fair to say that Mr. Spano is by far the most celebrated conductor on this list.

          • Laird says:

            The first concert using the name Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was on January 26, 1947. Henry Sopkin was the Conductor.

          • Amos says:

            My understanding was that when Robert Shaw left Cleveland to take the ASO position it was at best a semi-professional organization and that he essentially built it from scratch. If that is incorrect I apologize.

    • Günther Kraus says:

      Norman does not care about facts if they do not support whatever case he is trying to make… Sound like anybody we know?

    • Patricia says:


  • msc says:

    This is interesting. Fort Worth is a smaller orchestra with a smaller budget. Its hall is larger than Atlanta’s (I think), and seems not as nice. Spano seems to have done well in Atlanta. Is this a retrograde move for him? No offence to Fort Worth, which I have visited and quite like.

    • BruceB says:

      On paper, yes. But maybe he’s interested in building up a [relatively] smaller orchestra.

    • Karl says:

      It does seem like a downgrade. Maybe a sign that things are going downhill in Atlanta?

    • Laird says:

      Atlanta Symphony Hall is built in the late 60s-early 70. It lacks an elevator to the balcony. It has about 1750 seats and its acoustics are problematic, e.g., it lacks warmth of sound. Orchestra members complain of not being able to hear each other. I haven’t been to the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, but it is certainly newer. I wish Spano well- it will likely be a good fit.

  • Donny says:

    The usual click-bait…

  • MacroV says:

    It doesn’t seem like a step up. But I assume the Fort Worth Symphony is a fine orchestra these days.

  • Save the MET says:

    Going from Atlanta to Fort Worth, that’s a demotion.

  • Couperin says:

    Bob’s a good conductor but he smokes too many cigarettes. Brown teeth and putrid breath, tsk tsk.

  • Stuart says:

    One (borrowed) definition of what is going on here: Clickbait is a text or a thumbnail link that is designed to attract attention and to entice users to follow that link and read, view, or listen to the linked piece of online content, with a defining characteristic of being deceptive, typically sensationalized or misleading. Click-bait headlines add an element of dishonesty, using enticements that do not accurately reflect the content being delivered. Also this is an example of Trump derangement syndrome where stories that have nothing to do with Trump are Trumped-up. What will the media do when he is finally no longer around?

    • Zachary says:

      Democrats are too mentally unstable to confront their personal failures so they project and deny.

      Both Biden and Harris are nothings.

      We’re still seeing Andy Cuomo of NY blame nurses for his personal executive declaration to “not discriminate” against anyone putting elderly at risk in nursing homes. His order directly criminally facilitating murder according to the NY AG James. Cuomo also doesn’t trust the “medical experts” for those that follow his daily briefings.

      No, the overly liberal media minus only 1 network being lonely Fox after all these years can’t possibly survive Nielsen Ratings without talking about Trump. Democrats as a whole are either off limits to bring up their own crimes or flat out inert at creating positive changes.

      Their districts and states are proof of Liberal sloth. They allowed ANTIFA and BLM to take over their streets and destroy everything in their wake. It’s the justification for the Capitol gathering they’re trying to bother Trump with. What difference at this point does it make?!?? Democrats accepted much worse for months prior without acknowledging or doing anything about it.

      Who cares? Not the Left.
      Move on and enjoy your communism.

      • PFmus says:

        Trump lost. Get over it, sweetheart.

      • Greg Bottini says:

        God, Zachary, what an anus you are.

      • Ben Altman says:

        Spot on Zachary!!

        Norman’s boys Greg Bottini and PFmus are just as unstable as the rest of their dwindling leftist clique. Instead of a dignified thumbs down they stuck their thumbs up each other’s asses a bit. Their heads are too far up though! Oh well let Norm’s LGBTQ….klan express themselves while they rest from their romp.

        • Greg Bottini says:

          Ben Altman: Your own head is so far up your ass, you’re farting out of your mouth.
          I’m not “Norman’s boy”; I’m not anybody’s “boy”. My opinions are strictly my own, unlike you and your Trump-brainwashed, InfoWars-addicted, insurrectionist traitor MAGAt buddies.
          You disgust me.

  • Larry says:

    Texas is the “west,” not the “south.” Take it from a guy whose lived in Houston and San Antonio.

  • Simon says:

    Tump, ex POTUS now living in exile in Palm Beach County. Move on.

  • Jon Eiche says:

    Congratulations, Maestro Spano! Fort Worth has gained a worthy Music Director. (Pun intended, but the sentiment is sincere.)

  • Byrwec Ellison says:

    Over the last two years, the Fort Worth Symphony auditioned a parade of promising young conductors, including Roderick Cox, Ruth Reinhardt, Robert Trevino (his career trajectory probably put him out of reach already). In the end, though, the Symphony administration — or perhaps more accurately, its major billionairess donor — went with an older, experienced hand. Spano will be great for the orchestra, but we’ll still be wondering how it might have fared under one of those up-and-coming conductors (as when the Symphony took a chance on a young Miguel Harth-Bedoya 20 years ago).

  • Eric says:

    What a stupid click-baiting headline. Trump did not win the State of Georgia, where Atlanta is based. And while Trump did win the State of Texas, where Fort Worth is based, Trump did NOT win Fort Worth nor its county, Tarrant. Let’s focus on the news: the FWSO has appointed a world-class, forward-thinking artistic leader. That’s wonderful!

    • Petros LInardos says:

      If one were to link Spano’s move with the 2020 result of the presidential election, the headling should have been about Spano moving between two Biden cities. Biden won Fulton County, where Atlanta is located, by 72.65 % and Tarrant County, where Fort Worth is located, by 60.54%. One would have to try very hard to find major cities Trump won, let alone major cities with fine orchestras.

  • PL says:

    Spano joined his longtime publicist Shirley Kirshbaum for general management in November 2019 – She negotiated this new post.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      I have it on firsthand authority that Linda Marks did the deal. PRs do not get involved in MD contracts.

      • Nick2 says:

        Shirley Kirshbaum ceased being just a PR agent decades ago. When ICM was recovering from the early death of Sheldon Gold in the mid-1980s, Pinchas Zukerman moved to Kirshbaum Associates for management. Her list now includes more than 20 artists including Zukerman, Midori, Sir Andras Schiff and Ralph Kirshbaum. It beggars belief that Linda Marks based in England would engineer a move of an American artist with an American manager responsible for that artist’s North American management from one American orchestra to another American orchestra.

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    Is it safe to assume that he was not a big success in Atlanta?

    • BruceB says:

      He was, actually. I have several of their CDs. Maybe after 21 years, it was time to move on.

    • Seymour Hoffman says:

      Probably not a safe assumption….

      “As to bringing that orchestra’s repertoire up to date, he established what came to be known as the Atlanta School of Composers, championing the work of Michael Gandolfi, Osvaldo Golijov, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, and Adam Schoenberg, among others, and commissioning countless new works. Having produced six Grammy Award-winning recordings and toured the U.S. with the orchestra, it’s no wonder that he was admitted to the 40-year-old Georgia Music Hall of Fame–along with Ray Charles, Johnny Mercer, James Brown, and other luminaries—where he and Jessye Norman remain the only two classical musicians.”

      Musical America
      February 9, 2021 | By Susan Elliott, Musical America

    • Seymour Hoffman says:

      Probably not a safe assumption….

      “As to bringing that orchestra’s repertoire up to date, he established what came to be known as the Atlanta School of Composers, championing the work of Michael Gandolfi, Osvaldo Golijov, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, and Adam Schoenberg, among others, and commissioning countless new works. Having produced six Grammy Award-winning recordings and toured the U.S. with the orchestra, it’s no wonder that he was admitted to the 40-year-old Georgia Music Hall of Fame–along with Ray Charles, Johnny Mercer, James Brown, and other luminaries—where he and Jessye Norman remain the only two classical musicians.”

      Robert Spano Named Music Director of FWSO
      February 9, 2021 | By Susan Elliott, Musical America

    • Peter San Diego says:

      After 21 years there? Not likely a “safe assumption.”

    • Laird says:

      He was great at supporting contemporary composers and in conducting the middle-European repertoire. The orchestra often sounded better while being led by guest conductors, including Runnicles.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    I don’t know much about the Ft. Worth Symphony, except that they have an excellent tuba player, Carl Kleinsteuber. He’s also very involved in ‘trad jazz’ and dixieland. I’ll bet almost anything that it’s a very good orchestra.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    A change is good for both an orchestra and its music director when both have worked for some time together.

    Spano has done good things in Atlanta but a move would be good for both parties and he can bring a wealth of experience to Fort Worth (always in the shadow of Dallas).

    It reminds me a bit of Schermerhorn going to Nashville after Milwaukee. At the time, Nashville was not considered a major regional orchestra, but he molded it into one and helped in getting their hall created (which is now named after him)

    I hope all parties are happy and that the ASO and Spano are parting on good terms.

    Both orchestras have experienced budget cuts and work disruptions in the past. Perhaps having an experienced hand on the tiller is good.

  • Richard Graber says:

    Not sure about your title but interesting news nonetheless. I’ve worked with Spano a couple times in the orchestra, once about 20 years ago and a couple of years ago. He’s a very kind and well mannered maestro. He was not as energetic this last time. Perhaps a smaller orchestra will suit him with a lighter schedule. Fort Worth is a quality band and the city is quite nice.

  • Gerald Martin says:

    The Fort Worth Symphony has recorded for Naxos, if that’s any indication of quality.

  • JussiB says:

    Trump states? And he didn’t hire an American agent? That’s High Treason.