Conductor Marin Alsop made history as the first woman to head a major American orchestra when she became the Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony. Called a “born communicator and effective proselytizer for music” by The New York Times and a “lively entertainer as well as a powerhouse musician” by The San Francisco Chronicle, Alsop has spent a lifetime dedicated to music.
She began playing piano at 2, violin at 5, entered Julliard pre-college at 7, decided to become a conductor at 9, and entered Yale at 16. In 1991 she made her professional conducting debuts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the London Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She continues to appear regularly with these orchestras, in addition to the London Philharmonic.
Winner of Gramophone's “Artist of the Year” award and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Alsop was the first conductor to be named a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow. In 2006 she was the only classical musician invited to attend the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
A protégée of Leonard Bernstein, Alsop became the artistic director of London's Southbank Centre's season-long The Bernstein Project in 2009. Alsop took up the post of Chief Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Brazil's premiere orchestra, at the start of the 2012 season.
In Baltimore, Alsop has been credited with reinvigorating the Orchestra and leading a major community outreach effort that has generated tremendous excitement. In 2008, along with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, she unveiled an education initiative, ORCHkids. The program provides music education, instruments, and mentorship to Baltimore's youth. For adults, Marin Alsop conducts BSO Fantasy Camp, a weeklong immersion program for amateur musicians from across the country, as well as the biannual “Rusty Musicians” event which allows amateur players to have the opportunity to spend an evening playing music with the BSO.
Alsop has been profiled in TIME and named one of “America's Most Powerful Women” by Newsweek. She can be heard regularly as a commentator on NPR's Weekend Edition program, “Marin on Music.” In 2012 she was featured in the book, How Great Women Lead: A Mother-Daughter Adventure into the Lives of Women Shaping the World. Currently, Alsop is at work on her own book about leadership.
“Marin Alsop was an inspiration. Her message was exactly what we needed and wanted to hear.”
-University of Minnesota, School of Music