We at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra congratulate Marin Alsop on the beginning of her tenure as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. We wish her the best of success. However, we have to take exception to the statement in the New York Times and from the BSO's press materials that “Marin Alsop is the first woman to be the music director of a major American orchestra.”
This would mean that JoAnn Falletta , who has led the Buffalo Philharmonic since 1999, does not conduct a major American orchestra and this simply is not the case. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has been considered a major American orchestra for decades with a rich tradition of renowned music directors including Michael Tilson Thomas, William Steinberg, and Joseph Krips to name a few. Under Ms. Falletta’s leadership, BPO concerts are heard regularly in over 200 US cities via radio broadcasts as well as in Canada and Europe. The Orchestra has an active recording schedule with NAXOS , made a triumphant return to Carnegie Hall in 2004 and performs more than 130 concerts annually over a 39 week season, with a budget in excess of $10 million.
To us, these are some of the qualities that define "major" status. While we cannot blame the BSO for touting Ms. Alsop's appointment for all the good press it is worth, we think there must be a better way to describe her achievement. The orchestra industry has in fact abandoned the use of such labels as major, regional, metropolitan, etc.On behalf of our audiences and all Buffalo residents, we would like to set the record straight that the BPO is a major American orchestra led by JoAnn Falletta, a major American conductor.