Marin Alsop (born October 16, 1956) is an American conductor and violinist. She is the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and principal conductor of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra.
Early life and education
Alsop was born in New York City to professional musician parents. She attended Yale University, but later transferred to the Juilliard School, where she earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in violin. She founded the string ensemble String Fever in 1981. She won the Koussevitzky Prize as outstanding student conductor at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1989.
Alsop has been music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California, since 1992. The festival specializes in contemporary orchestral music. From 1993 to 2005, she was first principal conductor and then music director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. She is now the orchestra's conductor laureate. Alsop has also served as music director of the Eugene Symphony in Eugene, Oregon. She was associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony in Richmond, Virginia, from 1988 to 1990. On September 20, 2005, Alsop became the first conductor ever to receive a MacArthur Fellowship.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
In September 2007, Alsop was appointed the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Baltimore SO), having been named Music Director Designate for the 2006-2007 concert season. Her selection was noteworthy because Alsop is the first woman to hold this position with a major American orchestra. The initial controversy surrounding her choice stemmed from significant resistance from the orchestra's players, who insisted they had not had enough voice in the search process. The orchestra and Alsop met after the announcement and apparently smoothed over some of their differences. In June 2009, the orchestra announced the extension of her contract for another five years, through August 2015. In July 2013, the Baltimore SO announced a further extension of her contract as music director through the 2020-2021 season.
Since she became music director, Alsop's initiatives with the Baltimore SO have included the "Webumentary Film Series" and a free iTunes podcast, "Clueless About Classical." She recently announced a new educational program called "OrchKids", in which underprivileged Baltimore children will receive free music instruction, based on Venezuela's El Sistema program. Alsop was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.
Outside the US
In the UK, Alsop has served as principal guest conductor with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and with the City of London Sinfonia. Alsop was Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Bournemouth SO) from 2002 to 2008. She was voted Gramophone magazine's Artist of the Year in 2003 and won the Royal Philharmonic Society's conductor's award in the same season. In April 2007, Alsop was one of eight conductors of British orchestras to endorse the 10-year classical music outreach manifesto, "Building on Excellence: Orchestras for the 21st Century", to increase the presence of classical music in the UK, including giving free entry to all British schoolchildren to a classical music concert. Alsop received an honorary degree of Doctor of Music from Bournemouth University on 7 November 2007. Alsop served as an Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre, London, for the 2011-2012 season.
In 2012, Alsop became principal conductor of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra. Her work with the São Paulo orchestra has included a European tour, including its first-ever appearance at the Proms in August 2012, the first Proms appearance by any Brazilian orchestra.
On 7 September 2013 she became the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms.
Since 1990, Alsop's partner has been Kristin Jurkscheit, a horn player. They have a son, and Alsop has spoken publicly about her family. While Alsop was conducting the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, of which her partner was a member, their relationship provoked controversy, though Alsop replied that the relationship predated her appointment to lead the orchestra and had no bearing on her job performance.
Alsop conducted her first recording in 2000 with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in a selection of works by Samuel Barber, which was released as part of the American Classics Series on Naxos. This disc was followed by four more released between 2001–2004 dedicated to the works of Samuel Barber. In 2003, she released her first disc of Leonard Bernstein which she recorded with the Bournemouth SO and Chorus, with the Symphonic Suite from On The Waterfront and the Three Dance Episodes from On The Town. Following this, in 2005, Alsop’s fully staged production of Bernstein’s Candide with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra was nominated for an Emmy Award (DVD: PBS Great Performances/ Image Entertainment).
In June 2006, Alsop conducted the Baltimore SO and violinist Joshua Bell in John Corigliano’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, The Red Violin, recorded by Sony Classics and released in September 2007. She also led the Baltimore SO in Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which became the orchestra's first-ever live-recording release on iTunes. Following her advent to the Baltimore post, one of her first projects as Music Director was a series of recordings of Dvořák for Naxos. The first disc in the series, featuring Symphony No. 9, From the New World, and Symphonic Variations, was released in February 2008, and was nominated for BBC Music Magazine’s 2008 Album of the Year.
Other highlights of Alsop’s recording collaboration with Naxos include a Brahms symphony cycle with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (the first commercially recorded Brahms symphony cycle by a female conductor) and an ongoing series of Bournemouth SO recordings, which include Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and the symphonies of Kurt Weill.
In 2009, Alsop released a recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with the Baltimore SO that earned a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Album. In 2010, her recording of Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and soloist Colin Currie won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.
Other recent releases include Dvorak symphonies 7 & 8 with Baltimore, “Nixon in China” and works by Harris, Copland and Barber, all on the Naxos label. In 2012, Alsop and the Baltimore SO released a recording of Mahler Symphony No. 1, also on Naxos.
- Maria Eugênia de Menezes (11 February 2011). "Osesp anuncia nova regente". O Estado de S. Paulo. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
- Andrew Clark (20 July 2012). "'You have to be strong'". Financial Times. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- For convenience, the abbreviations "Baltimore SO" and "Bournemouth SO" are used, since both orchestras share the same letters in full abbreviations.
- Lev Grossman (25 July 2005). "A Symphony of Her Own". Time. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
- Daniel J. Wakin (9 October 2005). "Best Wishes on Your Job. Now Get Out.". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
- Anne Midgette (5 June 2009). "Baltimore Symphony Extends Music Director's Contract to 2015". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
- "Marin Alsop Extends Contract as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Through the 2020-2021 Season" (Press release). Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
- Tim Smith (2013-07-25). "Marin Alsop renews Baltimore Symphony contract through 2021". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Geoffrey Norris (22 March 2001). "Beating time and space on the way to the top". Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
- "'I don’t need to be liked, I’d rather be respected'". The Times. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- Charlotte Higgins (2007-04-26). "Orchestras urge free concerts for children". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- "Southbank Centre Classical Music 2011_12 Season". Southbank Centre Press Release notes. 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
- Stephen Moss (2012-08-14). "How Marin Alsop plans to put São Paulo Orchestra on the map". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
- Andrew Clements (2012-08-16). "Prom 45: São Paulo Symphony Orchestra/Alsop – review (Royal Albert Hall, London)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
- Dalton, Joseph (August 10, 2008). "Marin Alsop to conduct Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC". Times Union.
- Tommasini, Anthony (November 11, 2007). "A One-Woman Vanguard". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- Smith, Tim (June 11, 2010). "Alsop cements relationship with BSO, community". The Baltimore Sun.
- Official Marin Alsop website
- Baltimore Symphony Orchestra homepage
- Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music homepage
- MacArthur Fellowship biography page
- biography and discography at Naxos.com
- Alsop on Music (NPR)
- NewMusicBox cover: Marin Alsop in conversation with Frank J. Oteri, April 25, 2006 (includes video)
- Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition official website
- Classical Archives Interview about Cabrillo Festival
- Classical Archives Interview about Bernstein Mass
- Interview with Marin Alsop by Bruce Duffie, June 19, 2003
Philippe Entremont (Denver Symphony)
|Music Director, Colorado Symphony Orchestra
|Principal Conductor, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Yan Pascal Tortelier
|Principal Conductor, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo