Serving for only a few years at the helm of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO) in Maryland and the Binghamton Philharmonic (BPO) in New York State, José-Luis Novo has managed to instill a new artistic vision and leave his personal imprint in both organizations. His continuous drive for artistic excellence, innovative thematic programming, and collaborations with some of today’s most respected guest artists, have resulted in unprecedented artistic growth, praising audiences, and enthusiastic reviews. The successful partnerships have received consistent critical acclaim: “This entire evening was a series of glorious musical experiences that demonstrated the level of musical sophistication the ASO has attained.” (The Capital) “Novo’s feeling for Bartók’s arch form unified it all and gave this performance a sweep and power that were truly memorable.” (Washington Post) “The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra unleashed a nasty, unremittingly exciting Shostakovich 10th that showed off the strengths of the ensemble that already has been reconfigured during Novo’s brief tenure.” (Baltimore Sun) “Throughout the evening, the philharmonic sounded better than ever.” (Binghamton’s Press & Sun-Bulletin)
Maestro Jose-Luis Novo was appointed music director and conductor of the ASO in 2005, and has been the music director and conductor of the BPO since 2003. Prior to these appointments, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under the direction of both Music Director Emeritus Jesús Lopez-Cobos and former Music Director Paavo Järvi, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the late Erich Kunzel.
Some of the ASO’s highlights during Maestro Novo’s tenure have included debut concert appearances at Strathmore Hall (2006) and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (2010), a national broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today, a 2008 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award, and the recent release of the ASO’s first commercial CD commemorating the 300th anniversary of the signing of Annapolis’ Royal Charter. Additionally, the organization Meet the Composer granted the ASO a two-year Music Alive Residency (2011-2013) with Latin Grammy Award-winning composer Gabriela Lena Frank, and the League of American Orchestras recognized the ASO’s potential and selected it nationwide as one of only five participants in the Institutional Vision Leadership Initiative two-year seminar (2005-2007).
Recent guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony Silicon Valley, and an impressive Kimmel Center debut in Philadelphia conducting the Curtis Institute Orchestra in a last minute replacement for an ailing Maestro Otto Werner Mueller. Prior guest conducting engagements have included, among others, appearances with the Baltimore Symphony; the Minnesota Orchestra; the Syracuse, Modesto, Tulsa, Windsor, Stamford, and Tallahassee symphonies; the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra; the Cleveland and Abilene philharmonics; the Tenerife, Principado de Asturias, and Castilla y León symphony orchestras; the City of Granada Orchestra; the Andrés Segovia Chamber Orchestra at the National Auditorium in Madrid; the Vallés Symphony Orchestra at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona; and the Echternach Festival Orchestra at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, and on tour in Luxembourg and Germany.
A committed advocate of contemporary music, Maestro Novo has lead more than a dozen world premieres of commissioned compositions. In the operatic field, he made his debut conducting a production of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride in collaboration with Maestro Julius Rudel, and subsequently has conducted productions of Britten’s Albert Herring, Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, and Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea.
While maintaining a promising professional conducting career, Mr. Novo has also developed a reputation as a keen educator of young musicians. He has held the positions of Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Miami University Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Spain and the Yale Symphony Orchestra. Since 1999 he has been the Resident Conductor at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. In addition, he has conducted many noteworthy college and youth orchestras. Among these are the Curtis Institute Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra, the University of Maryland Symphony, the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, and the Portuguesa State Youth Orchestra of the Venezuelan El Sistema. In the summer of 1998 he took the National Youth Orchestra of Spain on a concert tour of Spain and Portugal, with performances at the Teatro Real in Madrid and the World Exposition in Lisbon.
As a violinist, Mr. Novo has appeared in concerts and recitals in Europe and in the United States and has made recordings for the Spanish and Norwegian national radios. He is a founding member of several important ensembles in which he has held leading positions: as concertmaster and soloist with the Youth Chamber Orchestra of Spain, as principal second violin of the New Amsterdam Sinfonietta, and as concertmaster of the National Youth Orchestra of Spain.
Jose-Luis Novo began his musical studies at the Conservatory of Valladolid, his hometown, obtaining the degree of Profesor Superior de Violín with honors in solfege, harmony, and violin. A scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Culture allowed him to continue his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, where he earned a first prize in violin. In 1988, he came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar, obtaining both Master of Music and Master of Musical Arts degrees from Yale University, where he was also bestowed the Frances G. Wickes Award and the Yale School of Music Alumni Association Prize. In 1992, the Spanish foundation La Caixa awarded him a fellowship to study at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he completed a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting. He concluded his conducting studies at the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music. His conducting teachers have included Gerhard Samuel, Carl Topilow, Louis Lane, Edmon Colomer, James Ross, and Charles Bruck (at the Pierre Monteux School in Maine). In addition, Mr. Novo has attended seminars and master classes with Günther Herbig, Lorin Maazel, Cristoph von Dohnänyi, Leonard Slatkin, Larry Rachleff, Daniel Lewis, Victor Yampolsky, and Christopher Wilkins.
Mr. Novo is the recipient of a 2010 Annie Award in Performing Arts from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, a 2008 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award, and a 2005 Broome County Arts Council Heart of the Arts Award.
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