&ldquoAs Alsop faced the cellos and drew from them the most tremendously shaped phrases with every inflection of her baton, you were aware of being in the presence of greatness.&rdquo
12th September 2015
Marin Alsop’s Last Night of the Proms speech

Tonight Marin conducted the world-famous Last Night celebrations for the UK’s BBC Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the main venue for the celebrations that had events all across the UK. In an evening that started with new music and ended with Last Night favorites, Marin used the traditional Last Night speech to convey the message music really does unite all.

Read her full speech below:

When I was last with you for this amazing and wonderful celebration, I shared how proud I was to be the first woman to conduct the LNOP. I have to share though that I am even more proud to be the first second woman – or maybe it’s the second first woman.

What excites me is that now is that we’re going to see the third, the fifth , the tenth, the one hundredth woman to follow me because we have to work towards a more just and equal playing field for women. I think it’s clear that inequality is one of the greatest challenges facing us today – whether it’s gender, racial, economic or ethnic inequality.

Now music is not going to solve these issues, but music has the power to change the hearts and minds of even the most hardened dissenter.

We’ve seen that here on the stage of the Proms, in my beloved city of Baltimore we’ve seen the power of music. There’s so many issues there that won’t be solved overnight, but when I see our 1,100 kids, our orchestra kids, we call them OrchKids, playing music together, listening to each other, responding to each other, making beautiful music together, they’re proud of themselves, they’re proud of their community, when I see them it gives me great hope for the future.

And in my second home, my adopted home of Sao Paulo, the Brazilian government promotes and supports music as a vehicle to create a more just, tolerant and peaceful society. These politicians and educators understand the importance of music education to create well rounded, young people so music education is mandatory for every child in Brazil.

I’m not going to pretend that music alone can change the world but, here tonight in this incredible hall with all of you here, I feel the power of music to unite us and to bring out the best that humanity has to offer. We have to reach out to those people who are struggling to be heard today. Let’s bring the sound of our voices together so that it reaches out to people everywhere to all of our brothers and sisters.

That is the great power of music.