Fernanda Lastra was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina. As a passionate and creative conductor, she is interested in a wide variety of repertoire, including symphonic, contemporary, and operatic works.
Fernanda currently 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 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 and Music for Youth concerts. 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.
As guest conductor Fernanda has led professional and youth orchestras in the United States, Argentina, and Brazil. Some of her previous engagements include conducting the National Orchestra of Argentine Music "Juan de Dios Filiberto" at the CCK National Auditorium in Buenos Aires, and the production of Missy Mazzoli's opera Song from the Uproar in collaboration with Demaskus Theatre and Kassia Ensemble in Pittsburgh. In 2023, she received prestigious recognition from Argentina's Classical National Radio at their annual Premios Nacional Clásica in the category of "established female conductor."
Fernanda Lastra is a passionate advocate for Latin American composers, especially those from Argentina. In 2020, Fernanda created Compositores.AR, a cycle of interviews of Argentinian composers in collaboration with MúsicaClasicaBA in Buenos Aires.
From 2021-2022 Fernanda Lastra served as Director of Orchestras at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, where she led the Symphony and Chamber orchestras. She also served as Assistant conductor for the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra from 2018-2022.
In 2022, Fernanda was selected as a conducting associate and in 2021 as conducting fellow for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music led by Mtro. Cristian Macelaru. In 2019, she was a finalist for the Assistant Conductor position at the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, and in 2018 Fernanda was awarded First Prize for the conducting competition held by the Opera de Bauge, France.
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 Lumieres Orquestre and in November conducted for Revival Theatre Company the production of the legendary Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma.
During the 2016-2017 season she served as Principal Conductor for CPYO (Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra) and from 2008-2012 she served as Professor of Orchestral Activities at El Sistema, Argentina. From 2005 to 2016 she worked as Assistant Professor at La Plata University, Argentina.
Moved by a strong conviction about the vitality that classical music can foster in our communities, Fernanda created La Trama Ensamble in 2013. She led this passion project for four years as its artistic and musical director.
Trained as a pianist with viola as secondary instrument, Fernanda holds two Bachelor’s degrees from La Plata University in Orchestral and Choral Conducting, a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from Penn State University, and a Doctoral degree in Orchestral Conducting from The University of Iowa.