The mission of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra is to produce, present and promote memorable symphonic music that increases awareness, enjoyment, and appreciation of music for all ages throughout the region.
JOSÉ-LUIS NOVO, MUSIC DIRECTOR
The Philip Richebourg Chair
Entering his fourteen season as Music Director and Conductor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, José-Luis Novo, holder of The Philip Richebourg Music Director Chair, is the longest-serving music director in the history of the ASO. Since his appointment in 2005 Maestro Novo has instilled a new and vibrant artistic vision. 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.
Some of the ASO’s highlights during Maestro Novo’s tenure include 2016, 2017 and 2018 return appearances at the Music Center at Strathmore with cellist Lynn Harrell, violinist James Ehnes and guitarist Manuel Barrueco, a 2012 return appearance at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves for the ASO’s 50th Anniversary Gala Concert, a 2008 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award, a national broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today, local broadcasts on Baltimore’s Classical Station WBJC and the launching of the ASO’s first commercial CD commemorating the 300th anniversary of the signing of Annapolis’ Royal Charter. Additionally, 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). The successful partnership between Mr. Novo and the ASO has received consistent critical acclaim: “Under its music director, José-Luis Novo, the ASO blazed its way through music by Handel, Falla and Nielsen.” The Capital Gazette. “Novo’s smart programming showed the orchestra in full unison and as individual players ready to attempt the best.” The Washington Post. “Novo's taut tempos and flair for building crescendos paid off handsomely.” The Baltimore Sun.
In addition to his directorship of the ASO, Maestro José-Luis Novo recently concluded an impressive thirteen-year tenure as Music Director and Conductor of the Binghamton Philharmonic in New York State. Prior to these appointments, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under the direction of both late Music Director Emeritus Jesús López-Cobos and former Music Director Paavo Järvi, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the late Erich Kunzel.
After a successful debut with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra for the Thailand International Composition Festival in Bangkok in July of 2015, Maestro Novo was immediately re-engaged and conducted two additional sets of concerts in 2016 and he returned for further concerts in June of 2018. Other recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include debut appearances with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Alexandria, South Bend and San Luis Obispo Symphonies, return appearances with the Fresno Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, Symphoria, and a striking 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 Symphony Silicon Valley, 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 and on tour in Luxembourg and Germany.
A committed advocate of contemporary music, Maestro Novo has worked with some of today’s foremost composers and has led eighteen orchestral world premieres, many of which were commissioned through his own initiative. In the operatic field, he made his debut conducting a production of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride in collaboration with the late Maestro Julius Rudel and subsequently has conducted productions of Britten’s Albert Herring, Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief, and Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea.
While maintaining a distinguished professional conducting career, Mr. Novo has also developed a reputation as a keen educator of young musicians. He was recently appointed Interim Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Maryland, College Park. Previously, 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 on the conducting faculty at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he currently holds the position of Resident Conductor. 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, the Bard Conservatory Orchestra, the Ithaca College Symphony 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 was a founding member of several important ensembles in which he 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.
José-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, Christoph von Dohnänyi, Leonard Slatkin, Larry Rachleff, Daniel Lewis, and Victor Yampolsky.
Mr. Novo was featured in the League of American Orchestra's Symphony magazine in "Podium Powers," an article about emerging Hispanic conductors in the United States. He 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.