Marin Alsop

Original Concept

Photo © Grant Leighton

Marin Alsop is an inspiring and powerful voice, a conductor of vision and distinction who passionately believes that “music has the power to change lives.” She is recognized internationally for her innovative approach to programming and audience development, for her deep commitment to education, and for advocating for music’s importance in the world.

The 2019-20 season marked Alsop’s first as Chief Conductor of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, which she leads at Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Musikverein, and on recordings, broadcasts and tours. As Chief Conductor and Curator of Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, she curates and conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s summer residencies, formalizing her long relationship with Ravinia, where she made her debut with the orchestra in 2002. Appointed in 2020 as the first Music Director of the National Orchestral Institute + Festival (NOI+F), a program of the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, she will lead a newly formed conductor academy and conduct multiple concerts each June with the NOI+F Philharmonic.

Her outstanding success as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) beginning in 2007 resulted in two extensions of her tenure until 2021, and she has since been named the Music Director Laureate of the orchestra. During her time as Music Director, Alsop led the BSO on its first European tour in thirteen years and created several bold initiatives, including OrchKids, for the city’s most disadvantaged young people. At the end of 2019, following a seven-year tenure as Music Director, she became Conductor of Honour of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), where she will return to conduct major projects each season.

Alsop has conducted many of the world’s major orchestras, including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Budapest Festival and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras, Filarmonica della Scala, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and she has long-standing relationships with the London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). Further highlights of the 2019–20 season include guest appearances with the Orchestre de Paris, Danish National Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In the United States, she regularly conducts The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and leads multiple projects each year at the Ravinia Festival.

Alsop’s extensive discography has led to multiple Gramophone awards and includes highly praised Naxos cycles of Brahms with the LPO, Dvořák with the BSO, Prokofiev with OSESP, and further recordings for the Decca, Harmonia Mundi, and Sony Classical labels. She is dedicated to new music, as demonstrated by her twenty-five-year tenure as Music Director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

In 2019, Alsop was awarded the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum. She is the only conductor to have received the MacArthur Fellowship and, in September 2013, made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms. Among many other academic positions, she is Director of the Graduate Conducting Program at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute. She attended the Juilliard School and Yale University, where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2017. Alsop’s conducting career was launched in 1989, when she was the first woman to be awarded Tanglewood’s Koussevitzky Conducting Prize, where she began studying with her closest mentor, Leonard Bernstein.