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Marin Alsop

First Woman Conductor of a Major American Orchestra

More From Marin

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Marin Alsop, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, talks about the moment she realized she wanted to work in music, her mother's support of her dream and the challenge of becoming the first female conductor of a major American orchestra.

Marin's Biography

Cause of Choice: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids; Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship

First piece of music that inspired her: “String Sextet in b flat”, by Johannes Brahms. “It taught me that music could move you and could change your life.”

First paying job: Playing music outside of St. Patrick’s Chapel in Manhattan.

Best advice ever received: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Always have a plan B.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Marin Alsop is a lot more than just the first female conductor of a major American orchestra. Alsop is also the Chief Conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Emeritus of the Bournemouth Symphony, Conductor Laureate of the Colorado Symphony and Music Director of the Cabrillo Festival. She was the first artist to win Gramophone’s “Artist of the Year” award and the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Conductor Award in one season, not to mention that she won the Classical Brit Award for Best Female Artist that same year.
Raised in New York, Alsop found her love of music at an early age. With a mother who supported her dream of being a conductor despite the fact that women didn’t do that, Alsop attended Yale University and later received a Master’s Degree from The Juilliard School. And after she took a risk by becoming the first woman conductor at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Alsop knew there was no turning back. Despite some resistance in the beginning, Alsop thrived at Baltimore, and in 2009, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra extended her tenure through 2015.
Now, Alsop has been the first conductor named to the MacArthur Fellowship and is a guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Alsop also takes her talents overseas, where she conducts the London Symphony and London Philharmonic as well as other orchestras all over the world.

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