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Fernanda Lastra holds the position of Assistant Conductor, Diversity Fellow for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, under the mentorship of JoAnn Falletta.

In 2022, Fernanda was appointed Conductor Diversity Fellow and was promoted in 2023, accompanied by a one-year contract extension. In this role Fernanda serves as assistant conductor, cover conductor, and main conductor for the BPO Family Kids series, Music for Youth concerts, and community engagement performances. Fernanda also serves as a member of the BPO’s artistic team, the BPO's music education committee and the BPO’s Diversity Council, among other responsibilities.

Born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Fernanda Lastra is a passionate and creative conductor with a wide range of interests in repertoire, including symphonic, contemporary, and operatic works. Additionally, she has collaborated with artists such as Aida Cuevas, Jay White, Jeans’n Classics, and Michael Grandinetti for Pops and special concerts. In May 2025, Fernanda is scheduled to make her debut with the Buffalo Philharmonic in the classic series featuring pianist Avery Gagliano.

Besides regularly leading the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in several concerts as part of her role as Assistant Conductor, as a guest conductor Fernanda has led professional and youth orchestras in the United States, Argentina, and Brazil. Some of her previous engagements include conducting the Walla Walla Symphony in May 2024 as a music director candidate, as well as leading three performances of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale alongside musicians from the Boston Symphony at The Birch Festival in June 2024, held in the Berkshires, Massachusetts. As an assistant and cover conductor, Fernanda has had the opportunity to work alongside esteemed conductors such as JoAnn Falletta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Maximiano Valdés, Gerard Schwarz, Mei-Ann Chen, Joseph Caballé-Domenech, and Michael Francis, among others. 

Committed to featuring diverse voices in concert halls, Fernanda is an advocate for Latin American composers, particularly those from Argentina. In 2020, she created Compositores.AR, a cycle of interviews of Argentinian composers in collaboration with MúsicaClasicaBA in Buenos Aires. Fernanda is equally dedicated to creating well-balanced and diverse programs that enhance the overall concert experience. Fernanda is passionate about community engagement and music education, as she believes in the transformative power of music to unite, heal, and to develop emotional intelligence.

In 2023, Fernanda received a prestigious recognition from Argentina's National Classical Radio at their annual "Premios Nacional Clásica" in the category of "established female conductor," and in November 2024, she will be presented with the "Career Advancement Award" at the Women in Classical Music Symposium held by the Dallas Symphony.

Among other engagements, in May 2022, Fernanda led the production of Missy Mazzoli's opera, "Song from the Uproar," in collaboration with Demaskus Theatre and Kassia Ensemble in Pittsburgh and in June, she conducted the National Orchestra of Argentine Music "Juan de Dios Filiberto" at the CCK National Auditorium in Buenos Aires.


In July 2022, Fernanda was selected as a conducting associate, and in 2021, as a conducting fellow for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, led by Cristian Măcelaru. Previous conducting workshops include working with esteemed conductors such as Larry Rachleff, Donald Schleicher, Marin Alsop, and Carlo Montanaro, among others. 

Fernanda Lastra has served as assistant conductor in public opera performances such as the University of Iowa’s 2019 production of Little Women by Mark Adamo. In April 2019 she joined the production of Cavalleria Rusticana in Neuchatel, Switzerland as Assistant conductor of Musiques des Lumières and in November conducted for Revival Theatre Company the production of the legendary Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma. Additionally, she reached the finals for the Assistant Conductor position at the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra. In 2018, Fernanda was awarded First Prize in the conducting competition held by Opéra de Baugé in France.

As a conductor-educator Fernanda served as Director of Orchestras at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL (2021-22), as Assistant Conductor for the UI Symphony Orchestra (2018-22) and for the PSU Philharmonic (2016-18), as conductor for the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra (2016-17), as professor of orchestral activities at El Sistema in Argentina (2008-12), and faculty at La Plata University, Argentina (2005-2016). In 2013, Fernanda founded an instrumental training ensemble, which she led for four years as music and artistic director, featuring a diverse repertoire and nurturing a strong audience through community engagement initiatives and a four-concert-per-year season.

Fernanda holds two Bachelor's degrees in Orchestral and Choral Conducting from La Plata National University, a Master's degree in Orchestral Conducting from Penn State University, and a Doctoral degree in Orchestral Conducting from The University of Iowa. Her academic mentors include Gerardo Edelstein, William LaRue Jones, David Becker, and Mélisse Brunet. Additionally, she has a background in ballet training and over 15 years of experience as a chorus member performing masterworks and a cappella repertoire.

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