Marin Alsop is an inspiring and powerful voice in the international music scene, a Music Director of vision and distinction who passionately believes that “music has the power to change lives”. She is recognised across the world for her innovative approach to programming and for her deep commitment to education and to the development of audiences of all ages.
Her outstanding success as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) since 2007 has been recognised by two extensions in her tenure, now confirmed until 2021. As part of her artistic leadership in Baltimore, Alsop has created bold initiatives that have contributed to the wider community and reached new audiences. In 2008 she launched ‘OrchKids’, which provides music education, instruments, meals and mentorship of the city’s neediest young people. Engaging the local community, the BSO Academy and Rusty Musicians schemes also allow adult amateur musicians the chance to play alongside members of the orchestra under Alsop’s baton.
Alsop took up the post of Principal Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) in 2012 and became Music Director in July 2013, with her contract now extended to the end of 2019. She continues to steer the orchestra in its artistic and creative programming, recording ventures and its education and outreach activities. Alsop led the orchestra on European tours in 2012, 2013 and 2016, with critically acclaimed performances at the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh International and Lucerne festivals, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and further concerts in Berlin, Paris, Salzburg and Vienna.
Marin Alsop now conducts the world’s major orchestras, with recent and forthcoming highlights including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestre National de France, London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In the US, Alsop regularly conducts the Philadelphia, Cleveland and Chicago Symphony orchestras, including at their summer residencies at Saratoga, Blossom and Ravinia. Further highlights of the 2017/18 season include the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and a second residency at Aldeburgh’s Snape Maltings with the Britten-Pears Orchestra.
As one of Leonard Bernstein’s best known pupils, Alsop is central to his 100th anniversary global celebrations in 2018: she opens the LSO’s tribute, an orchestra with whom she has a close and long-standing relationship and conducts performances of Bernstein Mass at the Ravinia Festival, where she has been appointed Musical Curator for 2018 and 2019, and at Southbank Centre, where she is Artist in Residence. Also at Southbank Centre she conducts a Beethoven programme with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), as part of a UK-wide tour. She conducts the OAE most seasons, including at the BBC Proms with recent performances of Brahms, Schumann and Verdi on period instruments. In September 2013, Marin Alsop made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms, which she returned to conduct in 2015.
Her extensive discography has led to GRAMMY and Gramophone awards and includes highly praised Naxos cycles of Brahms with the LPO and MDR Leipzig, Dvořák with the BSO, Prokofiev with OSESP, and further recordings for Decca Classics, Harmonia Mundi and Sony Classical. She is dedicated to new music, born out in her 25-year tenure as Music Director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
Among her many awards and academic positions, Marin Alsop is the only conductor to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music and Royal Philharmonic Society, and was recently appointed Director of Graduate Conducting at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute. She attended the Juilliard School and Yale University, who awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in 2017. Her conducting career was launched in 1989, when she won the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition and was the first woman to be awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize from the Tanglewood Music Center.