MOLA: An Association of Music Performance Librarians honors Falletta for her many decades of exemplary leadership and tireless advocacy
BERLIN | June 5, 2023 — MOLA: An Association of Music Performance Librarians is honoring American conductor JoAnn Falletta with the 2023 Eroica Award for Outstanding Service to Music.
MOLA is the premier professional association for music performance librarians who acquire, prepare, catalogue and maintain music for their institutions. With more than 450 members, this international nonprofit represents more than 300 organizations, including symphony orchestras, opera and ballet companies, music academies, professional bands and ensembles across the world.
As a multiple GRAMMY® Award winner who has led more than 100 orchestras across the globe, Falletta is an internationally celebrated conductor and an outstanding ambassador for music. In a video message shared last night at the 41st annual MOLA conference in Berlin, Falletta spoke of her deep respect and gratitude for performance librarians.
“This award means so much to me,” Falletta said. “I think that many of you know how much I admire MOLA and the work that you do — how much I admire your scholarship, your wisdom, your understanding of music, your support and appreciation of each other, and your incredible patience with all of us.”
Falletta thanked several librarians by name and acknowledged the important role they play in the performing arts ecosystem.
“I know I could never have the life I have in music without your support,” Falletta said. “And I’m very grateful to you. How can I ever say ‘thank you’ enough for that? I will treasure this beautiful Eroica Award, but you are the true heroes.”
The criteria for the Eroica Award for Outstanding Service to Music is to recognize an individual (or group of individuals) who inspires MOLA with their advocacy for the art form, artistic excellence, and/or leadership. MOLA encourages nominations for those who champion underrepresented works or composers, mentor young musicians, bridge communities, or break new ground. Whether a performer, scholar or editor, the recipient can represent any facet of the music world.
Falletta embarked on her first season as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic in the 1999-2000 season, and in doing so, became the first woman to lead a major American ensemble. However, her inspired leadership extends well beyond the podium. A passionate advocate for up-and-coming musicians, she has led seminars for women conductors and helped create mentoring opportunities for rising conductors at top conservatories, elite summer programs and at the Buffalo Philharmonic. She has been championing women conductors, composers and musicians for decades.
“JoAnn Falletta’s incredible leadership on and off the podium, her mentoring and advocacy for young conductors and musicians, and her selfless work helping the Hawaii Symphony through their reorganization, are just a few of the reasons that she received a record number of nominations from our MOLA member librarians,” said Courtney Secoy Cohen, MOLA president. “Her dedication to championing underserved composers and gracious interactions with everyone she works with have enriched the classical music world, and we are all so grateful for her altruistic contributions to help ensure the lasting future of classical music.”
MOLA member and principal librarian of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, Kim Kiyabu, said Falletta was a “superior” human being and nearly “overqualified” for the award.
“The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra would not exist without her massive donation of time, energy and goodwill,” Kiyabu said. “Emerging from a bankruptcy period in 2009, she has worked pro bono as our artistic advisor in the very difficult transition from the Honolulu Symphony into the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. She volunteered her time and expertise to counsel our board and leadership as the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra found its footing. She also voluntarily sat through auditions. She programmed the first-ever Ukulele Concerto by Byron Yasui with Jake Shimabukuro as the guest artist and championed other local Hawaii composers. She has conducted masterworks and community concerts in seemingly impossible places. I am unable to voice the enormous gratitude, “Mahalo Nui Loa” and “Aloha Kakou” — the closest meaning would be a love and sharing of our lives together — from the entire body of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra for the life and passion of the always very gracious JoAnn Falletta.”
Other nominators echoed similar sentiments about Falletta’s generosity with time and advocacy for underrepresented musicians.
Virginia Symphony Principal Librarian and MOLA member Carl Wilder has enjoyed working with Falletta since day one.
“When I joined the Virginia Symphony, I was immediately impressed with her warmth and welcoming spirit,” Wilder explained. “Her support and respect of the library has been invaluable. She is incredibly kind and generous with her time and has mentored many composers and musicians. She is a wonderful person who has championed countless works, composers, and musicians throughout her career.”
Virginia Symphony Assistant Librarian and MOLA member Paula Peebles Bonds referred to Falletta as a “champion on and off the podium” as well as a “perfect candidate” for the honor.
Falletta is the second-ever recipient of the Eroica Award for Outstanding Service to Music. In 2022, the association presented violinist Jennifer Koh with the inaugural award at its 40th conference in Philadelphia.
For Falletta and MOLA, it’s clear the admiration is mutual.
“MOLA represents for me the epitome of professionalism and the highest standard of knowledge in our music world,” Falletta said. “You are the incredible people who make it possible for conductors and musicians to do the work they love. The orchestral world simply could not exist without you.”
Learn more about MOLA at mola-inc.org. Visit joannfalletta.com to learn more about this year’s award recipient.
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About MOLA: An Association of Music Performance Librarians
Founded in 1983 as the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association, MOLA’s mission is to facilitate communication between professional performance librarians, educate and assist them in providing service to their organizations, provide support and resources to the performing arts, and work with publishers to achieve the highest standards in music performance materials.
The first MOLA meeting was held in Philadelphia in 1983, when 25 librarians from the United States and Canada met for a day to discuss issues of common interest. Today MOLA is an international, nonprofit corporation spanning the globe with a membership of over 300 professional performing arts organizations, represented by more than 450 performance librarians from symphony orchestras, opera and ballet companies, music academies, professional bands and ensembles in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, South America, and Australasia. The job of these performance librarians is to acquire, prepare, catalogue and maintain the music for each institution. Through MOLA, librarians share information and resources to help them in their daily work. Learn more at mola-inc.org.
About JoAnn Falleta
Multiple GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and Artistic Adviser to the Hawaii Symphony. She was recently named one of the “Fifty Great Conductors,” past and present, by Gramophone Magazine, and is hailed for her work as a conductor, recording artist, audience builder and champion of American composers.
Upon her appointment as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta became the first woman to lead a major American ensemble and has been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to an unprecedented level of national and international prominence. The Buffalo Philharmonic has become one of the leading recording orchestras for Naxos, with two GRAMMY Award-winning recordings. This season, the BPO performed at Carnegie Hall for a centennial celebration of former BPO Music Director Lukas Foss. The orchestra also traveled to Florida for their fifth tour of the State under Falletta’s leadership.
Her North American guest conducting appearances include the National Symphony, and the orchestras of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Toronto, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Montreal, Seattle, San Diego, and the Orchestre Métropolitain of Montréal to name a few. Internationally, she has conducted many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, and South America, with concerts in Spain, Sweden, Germany, Brazil, and Croatia earlier this season. In 2022, she led the National Symphony in two PBS televised specials for New Year’s Eve and the 50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center and made her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut at the Tanglewood Music Festival.
With a discography of more than 125 titles, Falletta is a leading recording artist for Naxos. She has won two individual GRAMMY Awards, including the 2021 GRAMMY Award for Best Choral Performance as conductor of the world premiere Naxos recording, Richard Danielpour’s The Passion of Yeshua. In 2019, she won her first individual GRAMMY Award as conductor of the London Symphony in the Best Classical Compendium category for Spiritualist, her fifth world premiere recording of the music of Kenneth Fuchs. Her Naxos recording of John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan received two GRAMMY Awards in 2008. Her 2020 Naxos recording of orchestral music of Florent Schmitt with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra received the prestigious Diapason d’Or Award. Her most recent releases for Naxos include the complete William Walton Façade, with narrators Kevin Deas, Hila Plitmann and American Public Media Host Fred Child, and the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players, and two recordings with the BPO: Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy and Symphony No. 2, and a world premiere recording of Adophus Hailstork’s Piano Concerto together with Danny Elfman’s Violin Concerto.
Falletta is a member of the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has served by presidential appointment as a Member of the National Council on the Arts during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations and is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards. She has conducted over 1,600 orchestral works by over 600 composers with over 150 world premieres In 2019, Falletta was named Performance Today’s first Classical Woman of The Year, calling her a “tireless champion, and lauding her “unique combination of artistic authority and compassion, compelling musicianship and humanity.” A leading advocate of works by women composers she has conducted over 135 works by over 70 women composer many of which were US or world premieres. ASCAP has honored her as “a leading force for music of our time.”
Falletta is a strong advocate and mentor for young professional and student musicians. She has led seminars for women conductors for the League of American Orchestras and established a unique collaboration between the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Mannes College of Music to give up-and-coming conductors professional experience with a leading American orchestra. In 2018, she served on the jury of the Malko Competition in Denmark. She has had great success working with young musicians, guest conducting orchestras at top conservatories and summer programs such as the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Interlochen, and Brevard Music Center, and as Artistic Advisor at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Falletta has held the positions of Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, Music Director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra and The Women’s Philharmonic.
After earning her bachelor’s degree at Mannes, Falletta received master’s and doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School. When not on the podium, Falletta enjoys playing classical guitar, writing, cycling, yoga and is an avid reader.
For further information, visit joannfalletta.com.