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Aslop during a performance of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore.

Marin Alsop (born October 16, 1956) is an American conductor and violinist. She is the current music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.


Early life and education

Alsop was born in New York City to professional musician parents. She attended Yale University, but later transferred to the Juilliard School, where she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees, both in violin. She founded the string ensemble String Fever in 1981. She won the Koussevitzky Prize as outstanding student conductor at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1989, where she studied under Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, and Gustav Meier, among others.

Early career

Alsop has been music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California since 1991. The festival specializes in contemporary orchestral music. From 1993 to 2005, she was music director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, initially starting with the title principal conductor. She is now the orchestra's conductor laureate. She has also served as music director of the Eugene Symphony in Eugene, Oregon. She was associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony in Richmond, Virginia from 1988 to 1990. On September 20, 2005, Alsop became the first conductor ever to receive the MacArthur Fellowship.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

In July 2005, Alsop was named the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO). Alsop became BSO's Music Director Designate in the 2006-2007 concert season, and in the 2007–2008 season, she assumed the orchestra's directorship, thus becoming its 12th music director. Her selection is noteworthy because Alsop is the first woman to lead a major American orchestra. The decision to appoint Alsop was surrounded in controversy when it became apparent that some of the orchestra's members were opposed to the manner in which management handled the appointment, the fact that they were excluded from the music director search process. However, the orchestra and Alsop met after the announcement and smoothed over their differences.[1][2] In June 2009, the orchestra announced the extension of her contract for another five years through August 2015.[3]

Since officially assuming the music director post at the Baltimore Symphony in September 2007, Alsop's initiatives with the Baltimore Symphony have included the "Webumentary Film Series" and a free iTunes podcast, "Clueless About Classical." She recently announced a new education after-school program call "OrchKids", in which underprivileged children from Baltimore will receive free music instruction, based on Venezuela's El Sistema program.


In the UK, Alsop has served as principal guest conductor with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and with the City of London Sinfonia.[4] Alsop became Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 2002 and served in the post until 2008.[5] She was voted Gramophone magazine's Artist of the Year in 2003 and won the Royal Philharmonic Society's conductor's award in the same season. In April 2007, Alsop was one of eight conductors of British orchestras to endorse the 10-year classical music outreach manifesto, "Building on Excellence: Orchestras for the 21st Century", to increase the presence of classical music in the UK, including giving free entry to all British schoolchildren to a classical music concert.[6] Alsop received an honorary degree of Doctor of Music from Bournemouth University on 7 November 2007.

Alsop is noted for her advocacy and interpretations of American music, but is establishing her reputation in the core symphonic repertory as well. She is the first woman to record the complete cycle of symphonies by Brahms (recorded with the London Philharmonic for Naxos Records). She is also the first woman conductor to have recorded a Mahler symphony with a major orchestra, the Fifth Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra on the LSO Live label.


External links

Preceded by
Philippe Entremont (Denver Symphony)
Music Director, Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Kahane
Preceded by
Yakov Kreizberg
Principal Conductor, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Kirill Karabits

Simple English

Marin Alsop (born Manhattan, New York, October 16, 1956) is an American conductor.

She went to Yale University and then got a Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School in violin playing. She won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1989, where she studied with famous conductors such as Leonard Bernstein.

Alsop has conducted many of the world’s most famous orchestras. Since 2002 she has been the conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and in 2007 she will become the conductor of the Baltimore Symphony. This will make her the first woman conductor of an important American orchestra.

Alsop has won many prizes and made lots of recordings. She has conducted and recorded many pieces by American composers, including the complete orchestral works of Samuel Barber.

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