BPO management did not announce the news with a press release and midweek press conference, as most orchestras do on such occasions. Instead, reports The Buffalo News, the extension was revealed by board chairman Angelo Fatta at the beginning of the Philharmonic's season-opening gala concert on Saturday night (September 15). The program featured a relatively rare appearance by pianist Van Cliburn, who played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, the work with which he rocketed to fame by winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958.
Falletta is widely credited with restoring artistic luster and visibility to the Buffalo Philharmonic, which numbers such prominent conductors as William Steinberg, Josef Krips and Michael Tilson Thomas among its past music directors. Since she began her tenure in the fall of 1999, the News points out, she has conducted the BPO in concerts broadcast on U.S. public television and radio as well as by the European Broadcasting Union, returned the orchestra to recording (on the Naxos label), led a well-received concert at Carnegie Hall, and founded an international guitar concerto competition.
"We felt we needed to do whatever we had to do to keep her," Fatta told the paper. He said that Falletta wanted to remain in the position: "She loves Buffalo and the sound she's created here. Her requests were very reasonable, and the discussions were amicable." Her annual salary during the 2009-13 period will be $300,000.
For her part, Falletta — who also serves as music director of the Virginia Symphony in Norfolk — told the News, "I've always been struck by the vibrancy of this orchestra, and the connection we have with the audience. It's not like that in other places."