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 recognised internationally for her innovative approach to programming and audience development, for her deep commitment to education and advocating for music's importance in the world.
From the 2019/20 season, Alsop becomes Chief Conductor of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (Vienna RSO), performing in their main series at the Wiener Konzerthaus and Wiener Musikverein, recording, broadcasting, and touring nationally and internationally. Her first season coincides with the orchestra’s 50th anniversary and will emphasize women in classical music.
Her outstanding success as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) since 2007 has resulted in two extensions in her tenure until 2021. Alsop has led the orchestra on its first European tour in 13 years and created several bold initiatives including Orchkids, developed for the city's most disadvantaged young people. At the end of 2019, following a seven-year tenure as Music Director, she becomes Conductor of Honour of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), where she will return to conduct major projects each season.
Throughout 2020, Alsop launches a global project to mark Beethoven's 250th anniversary, in collaboration with Carnegie Hall. Her goal is to bring the messages of tolerance, unity and joy in Beethoven's 9th Symphony to life for our 21st century. She will conduct reimagined performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony on five continents, with newly commissioned texts and music. Partners including the Vienna RSO, BSO, OSESP, Sydney and New Zealand symphonies, Johannesburg and Kwazulu-Natal philharmonics and Southbank Centre, where she is Associate Artist.
Alsop conducts the world's major orchestras, including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Budapest Festival and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and has long-standing relationships with the London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), where she returns this season. Further highlights of the 2019/20 season include the Orchestre de Paris, Danish National Symphony and Philadelphia orchestras. In the US, she also regularly conducts the Cleveland and Chicago Symphony orchestras and leads multiple projects each year at the Ravinia Festival.
Her 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 Decca, Harmonia Mundi and Sony Classical. She is dedicated to new music, demonstrated in her 25-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, is the only conductor to receive the MacArthur Fellowship and, in September 2013, made history as the first female conductor of the BBC's Last Night of the Proms. Amongst many other awards and academic positions, she is Director of Graduate Conducting at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute. She attended the Juilliard School and Yale University, where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2017. Her conducting career was launched in 1989, when she was the first woman to be awarded Tanglewood’s Koussevitzky Conducting Prize and began studying with her closest mentor, Leonard Bernstein.
Awards & Positions
Association of British Orchestras Award
Champion of New Music Award, American Composers Forum
Classic Brit Award
Conductor Award, Royal Philharmonic Society
Conductor of the Year, Musical America
Crystal Award, World Economic Forum
European Women of Achievement Award
Gramophone Artist of the Year
Honorary Doctorate, Bournemouth University
Honorary Doctorate, Yale University
Honorary Member, Royal Academy of Music
Honorary Member, Royal Philharmonic Society
Koussevitsky Prize, Tanglewood Music Center
Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award, Harvard University
Conductor Emeritus, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Laureate, Eugene Symphony
Director of Graduate Conducting, Peabody Institute
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Honorary Fellow, Newnham College, University of Cambridge
Music Director Laureate, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music
Music Director Laureate, Colorado Symphony
Spectator, November 2017
"Alsop understands Bernstein’s language better than you suspect he did himself… The effect? Electrifying."
Sunday Times, March 2017
"This giant score received a towering performance."
WQXR, March 2017
"If anyone has the courage and power to change the world through music, it’s Marin Alsop."