Robert Spano

  • Professor of Conducting

Areas of Study


  • BM, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, 1984
  • Postgraduate studies, Curtis Institute of Music


Robert Spano, a 1984 Oberlin Conservatory graduate has served on the Oberlin faculty since 1989, while cultivating one of the most robust conducting careers in America. Known for his innovative programming and championing of contemporary music, Spano is in his 16th season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, with which he has won six Grammy Awards for its various recordings. In great demand throughout the world, he has been a guest conductor with elite orchestras across the UNited States, including the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics and the orchestras of San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia, as well as in Europe.

Spano is noted for nurturing the careers of numerous celebrated composers, conductors and performers, and enjoys collaborations with composers and musicians of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.

Spano also serves as music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, for which he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs each year.

  • Recipient, Seaver/NEA Conductors Award, 1994
  • Honorary doctorate degrees from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University, and Oberlin Conservatory
  • One of two classical musicians inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, 2012

  • Music director, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
  • Music director, Brooklyn Philharmonic, 1996
  • Assistant conductor, Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1990-93
  • Assistant professor of conducting, Bowling Green State University, 1985-89
  • Guest conducting appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala (Milan), Ensemble Intercontemporain (Paris), Welsh National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Royal Opera at Covent Garden

Spano’s discography of recordings are with Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon, and ASO Media, for which he has won six Grammy Awards with the Atlanta Symphony.


This Week in Photos: Dancing, Swimming, Singing, Celebrating

December 14, 2021

A student takes a few steps on a ladder and stretches one arm to the top of a large glowing menorah in the center of Tappan Square. The gold branched candelabra and flames glisten against the night sky, and those surrounding it look up at its brilliance. This Oberlin community gathering, in celebration of the last night of Hanukkah, leads off this week’s photo series.