Marin Alsop is an inspiring and powerful voice in the international music scene, a Music Director of vision and distinction who passionately believes that “music has the power to change lives”. She is recognized across the world for her innovative approach to programming and for her deep commitment to education and to the development of audiences of all ages.
Her outstanding success as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007 resulted in two extensions of her tenure, now confirmed until 2021. As part of her artistic leadership in Baltimore, Marin Alsop creates bold initiatives that contribute to the wider community and reach new audiences. In 2008 she launched ‘OrchKids’, which provides music education, instruments, meals and mentorship to the city’s neediest young people. Engaging the local community through outreach initiatives, both the BSO Academy—and immersive 2-week summer music program—and "Rusty Musicians" allow adult amateur musicians the chance to play alongside members of the orchestra under Alsop’s baton.
Alsop took up the post of Principal Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) in 2012 and became Music Director in July 2013, with her contract now extended to the end of 2019. She continues to steer the orchestra in its artistic and creative programming, recording ventures and its education and outreach activities, as well as their annual Campos do Jordão International Festival, which takes place in July. Alsop led the orchestra on a European tour in 2012, with acclaimed performances at the BBC Proms in London and at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; they returned to Europe in October 2013, with concerts in Berlin, London, Paris, Salzburg and Vienna.
Since 1992, Marin Alsop has been Music Director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, where she has built a devoted audience for new music. Building an orchestra is one of Alsop’s great gifts, and she retains strong links with all of her previous orchestras – Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Principal Conductor 2002-8; now Conductor Emeritus) and Colorado Symphony Orchestra (Music Director 1993-2005; now Music Director Laureate).
Marin Alsop guest-conducts the great orchestras of the world: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Royal Concertgebouw, La Scala Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Bavarian Radio Symphony. Alsop has a close relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), appearing with both often, as well as with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE). She is also Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre in London. Marin Alsop made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s 2013 Last Night of the Proms in London, and after a resounding success was quickly invited back for the same concert in 2015.
2015/16 highlights include a subscription debut with the Chicago Symphony, a return to the Philadelphia Orchestra for subscription concerts, and the Eugene Symphony for their 50th Anniversary Season, where Alsop was held the position of Music Director. In March 2016, Alsop celebrates Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary conducting Bernstein West Side Story at the Knockdown Center, a restored factory in Queens, New York. Alsop also begins her position as Director of the Graduate Conducting Program at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute this season.
Marin Alsop is the recipient of numerous awards and is the only conductor to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, given to US residents in recognition of exceptional creative work. She was the only classical musician to be included in The Guardian’s “Top 100 women”, celebrating the centenary of International Women’s Day in 2011. In 2012 Alsop was presented with Honorary Membership (HonRAM) of the Royal Academy of Music, London and was named an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2014.
Alsop’s extensive discography on Naxos includes a notable set of Brahms symphonies with the LPO, Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem with the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra and a highly-praised Dvořák series with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The latest disc of Alsop’s Prokofiev symphonic cycle with OSESP (Symphony No.1) was released in November 2014 and the first (Symphony No.5) was Orchestral Choice in BBC Music Magazine. Other award-winning recordings include Bernstein’s Mass (Editor’s Choice, Gramophone Awards 2010) and Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto (Grammy Award 2010). Alsop has also recorded for Decca Classics, Harmonia Mundi, and Sony Classical.
Born in New York City, Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her Master's Degree from The Juilliard School. Her conducting career launched in 1989 when she was a prize-winner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition. In the same year, she also became the first woman to be awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize from the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was a pupil of Leonard Bernstein.