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La Maestra in the House is the story of Marylouise Nanna, a first violinist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO), and conductor of the independent Ars Nova Musicians’ Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Nanna joined the BPO in 1967 and remains a member of the orchestra to this day. Early in her career, Ms. Nanna studied conducting as well as the violin. Coming of age in the 1950s when women conductors were almost unheard of, she never succeeded at getting a conducting position with a full orchestra. In 1978 Ms. Nanna instead created her own opportunity to conduct by founding a chamber orchestra. Ars Nova has successfully been performing in Buffalo, New York to sold-out crowds for almost 30 years. By telling the story of Ms. Nanna and through interviews with people like JoAnn Falletta, conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the documentary identifies women’s challenges and progress in the music industry, especially by women conductors.

Ms. Nanna is from Buffalo, New York and still lives in the home in which her Italian-immigrant grandparents (the film-maker’s great-grandparents) raised their six children after coming to this country, and where she was raised as well. She comes from a family of musicians and has taken the musical tradition in her family and brought it to the people of Buffalo. Her talent, warmth, and lack of pretension have helped her attract people to Ars Nova concerts, who normally would not listen to classical music.

With support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Niagara Arts Council, Lockport Community Television, The Cameron Baird Foundation, The Patsy Lu Fund and the Open Meadows Foundation.


© 2003 Julia D'Amico