&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
9th September 2013

Last Night of the BBC Proms 2013

In a pithy speech Alsop declared that Sir Henry Wood, the founder of the Proms, would have regarded her presence on the podium as part of a “natural progression towards more inclusion in music.

Her most telling point, however, was made by here excellent conducting, particularly in a lovely performance of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, featuring the BBC Symphony Chorus and the superb countertenor Iestyn Davies.

 Richard Morrison, The Times (UK)



Marin Alsop got it spot on in her speech. The shocking thing is there are still such firsts to be achieved in 2013. Yet Alsop’s ground-breaking podium appearance as the first women to conduct the last night of the proms was not just a good day for equality. It also energised the 2013 last night itself, making it an enjoyable musical occasion that often looked forward, rather than back, and lifting the evening out of some- but not all- of its imperialist-era ruts.

The opportunity certainly energised Alsop. She rose to the occasion musically as well as politically, bringing an emotional heft to the characteristic crispness of her work.

 Martin Kettle, The Times (UK)


Alsop handled the evening with relaxed grace and not a trace of nerves. She dealt with the odd unruly element with perfect aplomb.



As the first women to conduct the Last Night, Alsop has assured her place in Proms history. She is an unassertively confident communicator:  Her obligatory addresses to the audience included a barely veiled dig at Vasily Petrenko’s recent suggestion that women conductors distract the players. There was no sign of that here.



There was something a lot more honed and polished this year: Marin Alsop triumphed. Some Maestri conduct their orchestra from poses of stillness: a raised eyebrow heralds a crescendo; a frown a whispered moment of dolore, and a slight jerk of the elbow a burst of con brio. Alsop throws herself at everything with all limbs flailing. Dressed with starched precision in military black and red, her jigging legs and animated arms at times might have appeared like a soldier marionette. But her baton was manipulated by nothing but her spirit: the strings were hers to pull. She is a masterful technical operator, and led the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus exactly where she wanted them.

The Mail online