Alsop thus was required to function as much as a timekeeper as a conductor, keeping the lush orchestration percolating, aided by a video monitor in front of her. She and the Grant Park musicians did an airtight job of the presentation.
I think it’s great that the ESO is looking at ways to engage younger audiences. This has always been a concern for classical music lovers (even in 1930!) but today’s competition for young people’s time is truly formidable.
An Anglo-Saxon-Scot lineup of works packed with brilliant ideas and expressive depth fueled a hot concert from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Thursday night at Meyerhoff Hall.
Marin Alsop, an associate artist of the Southbank Centre, was greeted with enormous affection by the audience. Long may her association with the OAE continue.
Alsop brought out subtle nuances amid of the first movement’s bold sweep (some of that boldness needed even more punch). And she paced the funeral march with care, building the grand crescendo impressively…
In its centennial year, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra does color about as well as any orchestra around, and conductor Marin Alsop’s programming plays to its strengths.
The question of assimilation has been on my mind a lot lately. Living in this great country where individuality is embraced, our current obsession with assimilation for those choosing the U.S. as their new home seems like a strange paradox.
…Alsop provides a blend of warmth and energy that particularly suits Glass’s lyrical side and his constantly shifting rhythms.
Conductor Alsop is a constantly energising presence. Rough edges notwithstanding, this is a lusty and in many ways extremely appealing version of Orff’s popular classic.
Alsop has the measure of the symphony’s structure, dramatic pacing and emotional content, drawing a bright sound from the São Paulo players, goading them into firm rhythmic propulsion and drawing out rich strands of string sound…
This is easily the most impressive of Alsop’s Dvorák cycle.
Alsop can be reserved or overly careful in some repertory, but she’s got Bernstein under her skin.
At center stage, standing before the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra with her baton raised high, Marin Alsop, the American conductor, unified the ensemble.
Marin Alsop, fresh from conducting the splashy Last Night of the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, returned home this week to open the first subscription program of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s centennial season. All in all, the results Thursday night at Strathmore proved rewarding.
Later came the jollifications of the second half, controlled by conductor Marin Alsop with just the right blend of relaxed good humour and brisk authority.
The conductor on Hillary Clinton, Leonard Bernstein, playing in jazz clubs – and preparing for her second Last Night of the Proms.
Ms Alsop spoke to The Economist about women in leadership, preparing for the Proms and the art of conducting.
But the BSO’s terrific version of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” led by Marin Alsop and featuring a whole lot of talent packed onstage is among the most satisfying BSO ventures of any recent season.
For Ms. Alsop, having the instruments in front of her keeps alive the memories of her parents, and their playing.
The Finale showed us that today’s OSESP is ‘Marin Alsop’s OSESP’.
The long, spacious finale found Alsop in remarkable form, taking her time so that the hymn-like themes registered deeply, and maintaining a telling pulse even when the music was at its most still.
It has been nearly a decade since Alsop guest conducted the ASO, in September 2005. Since then, Alsop has musically grown from an excellent conductor to a genuine maestro, as evidenced by Thursday’s ASO concert.
Stravinsky’s imposing “Rite,” the musical equivalent of a great brutalist building, brought out the best in Alsop and the BSO.
That concert goes into my personal registry of lucky-to-be-here Baltimore moments — Alsop and her orchestra clicking with such energy and bliss that you wished the music would never end.
On Friday night at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Alsop approached both compositions with great sensitivity, tapping deeply into the emotion and poetry of each.
Baltimore’s orchestra is a pleasure to hear, both for the warmth of its string sound and the purity of its brass. After seven years at the helm, Alsop’s bonding with the ensemble sounds secure, and every musician on stage seems fully engaged.
Conducting from memory, Alsop sculpted an intensely absorbing performance of the 1937 symphony, a work that saved the composer’s career at a time when he and other artists were under suspicion by Soviet authorities.
All in all, another very hot night in what so far has been a remarkably rewarding season for Alsop and the BSO.
Alsop approached the symphony with obvious relish and generated what I’d rank among her most galvanizing interpretations since she took the helm seven years ago.
This was a unique experience because I wasn’t asked to pick my favorite recordings, but rather to select music that has meant the most to me over my lifetime. So the experience was far more personal and intimate.
Alsop made sure that the deviations dovetailed smoothly with the score, and she had the orchestra charging into the experience with flair. Steven Barta’s clarinet solo got the whole thing off to a dynamic start.
Amid all the talent, no performer or group came across better onscreen than Alsop and her musicians. What a marvelous showcase this two-hour live concert turned out to be for the incredible range of this orchestra.
A year after Marin Alsop’s triumph at 2013’s Last Night – the first to be conducted by a woman – it’s clear that the American conductor still holds the Albert Hall audience in the palm of her hand.
Alsop brings a vigorous spring to the music’s step…At no point does her Mahler seem anything less than well considered and expertly groomed.
Friday night’s concert at Meyerhoff Hall was one of the most riveting and unified the BSO has given in the past decade or more.
She kept the tension going right to the blazing end, so that even the moments of introspection had a tingly edge.
…these performances from Marin Alsop and her Brazilian orchestra are particularly arresting for their fusion of zest, rhythmic bite, strength of character and sure handling of Prokofiev’s orchestral palette.
Conducting Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony is an exhilarating and demanding task. Although it’s one of his shortest symphonies (at about 55 minutes), it is an epic journey that requires countless hours of analysis and examination of the score. Still, it is a thrilling process to peel back and reassemble the many layers of Mahler’s music.
There is much to admire about this lively and colourful recording, however, not least the manner in which the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop actively thrive on playing music that communicates in such an immediate and engaging way.
Alsop has a special sympathy for Barber and—thanks to her—all his orchestral music now available at Naxos prices.
Marin Alsop’s continuing Samuel Barber series for Naxos is exceptionally well planned. The standards of performance here are at least as high as on previous issues.
Marin Alsop and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra bring their six-disc survey of Samuel Barber’s complete orchestral works to a thrilling close with idiomatic performances of the sparky Capricorn Concerto and a handful of brilliant miniatures.
Lyricism and obsessive patterns are finely realised by the RSNO, while conductor Marin Alsop shows a keen sensitivity to both scores and balances their rhetoric with the clean-edged clarity of their textures.
These are fine performances. Alsop is especially good in the First Symphony, where her wisely chosen tempos and her restraint in the opening movement allow the music to build in a natural, unforced manner.
Two searing song cycles by Mark Anthony Turnage, both given great performances..[an] outstanding release…a triumph for Marin Alsop and the sensational LPO musicians and engineers.
These live LPO recordings are the best possible advert for new classical music…Thanks to Alsop’s flair the MacMillan has unrivalled intensity, the Adès goes with a swing and Higdon’s flimsy concerto sounds like a joyride.
Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony deliver heartfelt, sincere performances entirely in keeping with the spirit of the music, and they are very well recorded. I welcome this release with pleasure, and so will you.
It is rare to be able to say that a performance forces one to listen to a work anew, but this is exactly what Alsop’s reading achieves. Excellently recorded and with an elegant and witty performance of the Symphonic Variations as makeweight, this is a superb issue all round.
Alsop should please both the eager newcomer on the lookout for a recommendation and the seasoned collector who knows and loves the music but fancies listening between the staves. There’ll be no disappointment on either score.
The brilliantly captured moods of the Dance Symphony, derived from an early ballet score, round off a revelatory and richly recorded disc.
Marin Alsop’s reading is certainly fine: dark of hue, lyrical and long drawn, though never, even for a moment, comatose.
A highlight by any standard was the Brahms Second, a treat in Ms. Alsop’s assured reading, and a teaser for the release of her next recording.
The first in Marin Alsop’s bargain-priced series of Brahms symphonies proves that she is as capable as anyone of getting an orchestra to play this muscular music with real power.
Right from the start, in Rachmaninoff’s bittersweet “Vocalise,” the quality of the ensemble was readily apparent, the technical suppleness, the attention to tonal cohesion. More to the point, there was genuine warmth in the playing as Alsop molded the score with a sensitive touch, ensuring that rubato and dynamic crests sounded natural.
The BSO, sensitively conducted by Marin Alsop, responded to the clarinetist’s inspired playing with considerable care and nuance.
What an evening it was with Maestra Marin Alsop conducting the Baltimore Symphony’s rendition of Dvorak’s popular New World Symphony, his 9th, as part of her “Off the Cuff” series.
I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to composer anniversaries but this year, marking 100 years since the birth of Benjamin Britten, has been absolutely fascinating for me. I am now living proof that such centenaries can indeed change the way we look at a composer and provide us with opportunities to explore their breadth and depth…
The Baltimore Symphony has presented an epic work every few seasons since Marin Alsop started her tenure as music director in 2007, works that seem to bring out the best in her and the orchestra…. You can add to that list Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem,” presented Thursday night at Meyerhoff Hall.
Alsop let the music breathe, allowing the ever- shifting palette of instrumental nuances to register richly, but also ensuring that the intricate interplay of melodic lines unfolded with terrific tension.
On the final night of their mammoth European tour, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra played a brilliantly energetic programme to a delighted Bridgewater Hall audience.
…Marin Alsop was as lucid as you could wish for, impeccably clear without being clinical, understated rather than indulgent, but in a way that made the music sound more rather than less original, and at the same time paced with a cunning that maximised the sense of logical continuity.
Alsop recharged that glow here. Directing the orchestra plus the eight amplified members of the Swingle Singers, the vocal ensemble for whom Sinfonia was written, she was rock steady, absolutely in control.
As Marin Alsop tells it, it’s rather like a fairy tale. She went to one of Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts at the age of nine, and had an epiphany. Conducting was what she wanted to do.
…the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and its conductor Marin Alsop held my attention as never before…The Fifth Symphony comes up trumps in a dramatic yet highly polished performance
Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra make persuasive champions for Puts’s Symphony No. 4
The Last Night of the Proms became a First Night for Women on Saturday when Marin Alsop walked onto the stage of the massive and festively adorned Royal Albert Hall and made a bit of history in this history-drenched country.
Marin Alsop: It exceeded my expectations. It was a great evening. It was really emotional and very moving to be involved in such a big celebration.
‘I think EQ is more important than IQ in this day and age,’ says the musical director and conductor
After months of planning, The Last Night of the Proms finally arrived. I was going to conduct classical music’s biggest party of the year and, as news reports across the world made clear, become the first woman to conduct this august occasion.
Like Leonard Bernstein himself, there is absolutely nothing predictable about the music he wrote. None of the three amazing works Bernstein labeled as “symphonies” in any way resemble a conventional orchestral symphony.
As the first women to conduct the Last Night, Alsop has assured her place in Proms history.
To celebrate Marin conducting the Last Night of the BBC Proms, Gramophone has produced a special digital magazine bringing together critics’ reviews of her many recordings with Naxos.
For the first time in history, a woman will lead us through the annual burst of Land of Hope and Glory at the Last Night of the Proms. Can you believe men have kept this honour to themselves for 118 years? If you work in classical music, the answer is probably yes. It is a world that is notoriously duff when it comes to women at the top.
For the first time in 118 years, the conductor on the Royal Albert Hall podium will be a woman. It’s a chance she is keen to take to promote equality. Paul Bignell meets Marin Alsop
Is there a composer alive who so winningly generates momentum? When Marin Alsop conducted the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Prom on Saturday, the opening chords of Brahms’ Tragic Overture almost punched holes in the air.
Previous reviews have praised just about every aspect of this new Naxos cycle, and while I admit to arriving somewhat late on the scene I have to admit that all expectations are realised.
There are few more heavyweight choral classics than the Brahms German Requiem, and I am pleased to report that the performance is sensitively contoured, intelligently paced and immaculately balanced.
The Proms has a very special and unique atmosphere. I had the wonderful experience of making my debut (and return) at the Proms with the Bournemouth Symphony when I was principal conductor and was really moved by the enthusiasm of the audiences and the sense of occasion we all shared.
Alsop knows how to get “Carmina Burana” spinning and sparking, as she demonstrated with the BSO in 2008. She did so again here. The conductor’s tempos were vigorous, but never breathless, and phrasing was invariably sensitive; the work’s lyrical side was allowed to emerge as tellingly as the grittier.
“I’ve always noticed how the men in orchestras struggle with tails,” says Alsop. “It’s a lot of clothing, and it’s quite constricting, and it can get hot. And for the women, it’s hard for them to know what to wear. I was thinking, ‘Where are we headed with an orchestra in the 21st century?’ I don’t want to change the music, but the trappings? We’re wearing the same clothes we were wearing 200 years ago. It might be time for an update.”
If it has a good beat, you can count on Marin Alsop to conduct it with infectious energy. She was not just attuned to the momentum generated by the composer — and she had the wildest passages of the symphony really kicking up some dirt — but also the lyrical side…
Everything in the score clearly stands out under Alsop’s eagle eyes and ears, with syncopated rhythms and canonic passages securely aligned and the Bournemouth brass at their assertive best. Alsop’s brisk tempos serve the first movement’s insouciant asymmetry well, and she makes the third movement’s lyrical points through strict dynamic gradations and steady tempos (it’s so tempting to milk this music to death!). Yes, no one conducts Bernstein like Lenny, but Marin Alsop manages to make this music her own. And that’s no small feat.
Marin Alsop offers another welcome collection of her mentor’s music…Another lively and rhythmically vital performance from Alsop and her Bournemouth band. The upbeat, lively Divertimento makes a nice contrast with the more cerebral Serenade and Facsimile – though you can identify Bernstein’s unique voice right from the first bars.
Highest praise of all must go to Alsop, however. Having once been Bernstein’s pupil she has now become the most convincing advocate on disc for this previously problematic work. She holds together every strand of this endlessly diverse score, welding it into a convincing musical and dramatic whole.
Marin Alsop finds an ideal balance between the music’s facets of showpiece and dance, with its lurid storytelling never giving way to pure display. Alsop captures the rhythms and textural detail with an innate sense of the music’s style.
Richard Wagner was, and still is today, arguably the most controversial figure in classical music. A self-appointed deity and hyperdriven genius, Wagner is often considered the ultimate megalomaniac. He dreamed up and achieved a single-minded plan to change the course of classical music history…
Alsop brings out all the creeping horror of Bartók’s score in this superlative live performance. The singing is dramatic and committed, the balancing excellent. 5 Stars.
As with their earlier Bartók releases, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop gives a fine, colourful and insightful account. The opening, in which Bartók essentially re-imagines Das Rheingold, grows majestically from its initial murmur, and the ebb and flow of the dances is well paced. lvan Fischer’s Budapest account (Philips) is more ethereal in the mystical passages and more playful elsewhere, but it is only available on a three-disc set and, even without a filler, Alsop’s account belies its budget price.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s admirable recordings with music director Alsop on the Naxos label have so far included a vibrant cycle of Dvorák symphonies and a sensational, Grammy-nominated account of Bernstein’s “Mass.” Now comes a burst of Bartók.
Under certain circumstances the partnership between American conductor Marin Alsop and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra can be electric. It’s happened again with this latest in Naxos’s ongoing survey of Samuel Barber.
In this collection of orchestral works Marin Alsop proves once again that she is one of the leading conductors in the world. She leads the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra here with clarity and precision, gaining from them a taut sense of rhythm and ensemble, and ravishing string colors. Highly recommended on all fronts.
Marin Alsop leads a vigorous new recording of John Adams’s Nixon in China that affirms the opera’s status as a modern classic. This new recording is a testament to Nixon’s enduring status in the canon. Conductor Marin Alsop’s approach — vigorous and transparent — is apparent right out of the gate, as the pulsing A-minor scales begin their cyclical variations…Alsop makes the Colorado Symphony Orchestra sound like a force to be reckoned
If there were anyone still looking for evidence that Marin Alsop is a thoroughly good thing, this concert… will surely have settled things once and for all… Her appointment is …
In the first of two LPO concerts in The Rest is Noise series, Marin Alsop chose music by visitors to America – either by choice or, in the case of enslaved Africans, by force, with a marked split between a sense of loss and longing and a sense of adventure. Marin Alsop was in her element – charismatic, visionary and pragmatic – In a performance that yielded the work’s layers of distance with great clarity…
Marin Alsop’s latest visit to the Southbank Centre — within its Women of the World (WOW!) season — saw her about the business of celebrating women in music; at times directly, at times obliquely. Alsop’s programme fell neatly into a pre-existing slot: the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s series, Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers…
The Dvořák is something of a signature piece for Alsop, and her gutsy, racy reading of the score drew great energy from the London Philharmonic players. A superb performance of Milhaud’s tricksy ballet score preceded Varèse’s Amériques, a work that records its composer’s bedazzlement less by New York’s music scene than by the soundscape of the city itself…
My first encounter with the name James P. Johnson was a fleeting reference to the composer in a liner note for a Gershwin recording, but it was enough to pique my curiosity. I contacted Robert Kimball, the author of the notes, and he gave me some intriguing background on Johnson. In addition to composing the singular piece of music that came to symbolize the 1920s in America…
Discovering Brazil has been a series of wonderful revelations for me. As principal conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra for the past year, I have been deeply moved and even changed by my exposure to this culture of passion and positivity…
Marin Alsop took over as principal conductor of the São Paulo Symphony in March this year, charged with the task of turning it into a world-class orchestra. Its Proms debut, then, was a small step on that path to international recognition, and there’s no doubt of how well the Brazilian orchestra already responds to Alsop’s energy and enthusiasm…
I didn’t know what to expect when I visited the home of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, situated in an area of the Brazilian city known as Cracolândia – Crackland. It’s not a place to linger: prostitutes ply their trade on the platforms of a nearby station, drug addicts sleep in the park, and I witness a mugging while passing through in a taxi one evening. But I do make a point of having a wander round Crackland before a performance in Sala São Paulo, the orchestra’s beautiful, 1,500-seat concert hall. No one bothers me…
The Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra will become the first Brazilian orchestra ever to appear at the BBC Proms when it plays on 15 August. Chief conductor Marin Alsop says that although Brazil is not very well-known for its symphonic music, the Sao Paulo Orchestra has a unique energy and could become one of the best orchestras in the world…
Marin Alsop: It is, of course, a milestone season for the festival, and it deserves to be celebrated. I think it’s interesting to think of a new festival that has a real history, not simply a tradition. Maybe “legacy” is more what I mean. Some of what we will perform—the Carlos Chavez and the Lou Harrison—will be an opportunity for us all to reminisce together about that legacy, being secure and proud in what we are…
People keep asking me why I recorded Sergei Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony for my first CD release in my new post leading the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. The simple answer is that it just felt right. But in thinking about it, I can now see many parallels — at least for me — between Prokofiev’s music, the city of Sao Paulo and the country of Brazil…
Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italian” surged faster and faster as I sat on the stage of Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall amid the ranks of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Marin Alsop, the music director, was giving no quarter. The notes were rushing past, more quickly than my fingers could move. The train was leaving, and I wasn’t on it…
The confidence and virtuosity from the podium and the stands alike came through with each quick shift of tempo or dynamics. But this was much more than a case of technical precision. There was visceral passion in this performance, a sense of spontaneity and just plain enjoyment emanating from the stage. An extra intensity in the articulation, an extra kick behind the phrasing helped make the score sound freshly revolutionary and primordial.
Musically speaking, Marin Alsop was born with a silver spoon in her mouth—and has been making the best of it for as long as she can remember. From busy kid to even busier adult, she has reached her present eminence by keeping her eye (and ear) fixed unswervingly on her lifetime’s goal: to make music, and through it to enrich the lives of listeners everywhere…
Meyerhoff Hall was the place to be Thursday night. In a Baltimore Symphony program of Ravel and Shostakovich conducted by Marin Alsop, the intensity started early and never really let up. Alsop revealed a firm grasp of its elusive structure and its extraordinary emotional content. There was a coherence, tautness and clarity in her approach on Thursday, as well as a palpable sense of involvement. I particularly admired the pianissimo start Alsop assured for the first movement crescendo, with Brian Prechtl so delicately articulating the snare drum solo to underline the barely audible, weirdly banal tune that depicts the gradual approach of evil..
With the tour barely over (I’m writing this as we wend our way homeward), I’m still on a high from our thrilling final concert last night! (And feeling a bit exhausted from no sleep and too many hours in the plane, too!). Ending our first tour together in Eugene, Oregon—where I served as Music Director from 1989-1996—was a real treat for me…
And Alsop drew those strands together deftly into a performance of eloquence and specificity. The slow tempos that predominate in this symphony, particularly in the broad-beamed first movement, sounded imposing but never draggy, and the orchestra caught the quicksilver wit of the second movement with wondrous clarity…
The last quarter century has not been without progress. In her fifth season as Baltimore’s music director, Marin Alsop is a woman conductor, and she has broken the highest glass ceiling in the orchestral world thus far. She is popular and brings the Baltimore Symphony deserved attention. She is a proud champion of American composers, dead and alive. She also goes to bat for women composers. And she does not pretend otherwise…
Marin Alsop, the Eugene Symphony’s most famous alumna, comes back to town on a regular basis to see friends and to conduct her old orchestra. It was here she got her start as a conductor, leading the symphony from 1989 to 1996, before moving on to considerably greater fame and fortune around the world…
It takes a certain gutsiness to open a concert with not just one, but two big and brassy fanfares — you had better follow through with something worth the buildup. But no one’s ever accused Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Conductor Marin Alsop of not having guts, and on Thursday night at the Music Center at Strathmore she pulled out all the stops and delivered two huge, spectacular works — including a percussion concerto by Jennifer Higdon that may be one of the most exciting orchestral works of the past decade…
Marin Alsop became Principal Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra this month. Her premiere concert comprising works of three centuries is just one sample of the repertoire to mark her work with the orchestra…
São Paulo is a huge city: some sources claim it as the world’s third largest and it’s one with colossal ambition. As you fly in, it seems to stretch as far as you can see in every direction. And now it has opened a new era in the history of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra with a new music director, Marin Alsop…
Call it poetic injustice. In 1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer made a movie called “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” about the sainted maiden from Orleans who led French forces against the English and was burned at the stake for heresy in the 15th century. Shortly after its release, the original negative of the silent film was consumed, like Joan, by fire….
I grew up thinking of Aaron Copland as the musical voice of America.
Like most everyone, when I hear Copland’s music, I see the majesty of the Grand Canyon: I feel my breathing expand and relax with the open skies of Colorado and Montana; I sense the calm of a clear river running through the mountains…