“Alsop bustled and prodded, a hive of nervous energy on the podium, driving the drama tautly. Woodwind colour included some occasionally acidic clarinet tone. Alsop drew plenty of nuance in the Adagio, while the Scherzo poked in the ribs before pulling back to a genial pace for the Trio section. The Fourth is at its most rebellious in the finale and the OAE didn’t disappoint, bows clattering percussively, bassoon jabbering raucously, while timpani and brass underlined the punchlines in red.”
The Baltimore Sun
“With Alsop providing calm command, attentive to dynamic shading and rhythmic pulse, the orchestra revealed an expressive vitality that gave even the score’s slowest passages an extra tingle.”
“Alsop did her part to keep the orchestra underneath the soloists and choir in volume, putting a dynamic focus on the words, often set so impassionately by Mozart as he raced, unsuccessfully, against his own impending death to try to finish the work.”
“Last night, Marin Alsop — who studied with Bernstein — juxtaposed both composers’ First Symphonies, Bernstein’s subtitled “Jeremiah”, Mahler’s “Titan”. Both were written when the composer was in his twenties and are remarkably assured. Bernstein’s isn’t often played, and Alsop proved a persuasive advocate. Like an opera overture, the symphony’s opening hinted at drama and action. The development had a plaintive quality that contrasted nicely with the second movement’s jaunty exuberance, opening out from a sinuous melodic cell. Jamie Barton delivered the climactic Lamentation, her rich mezzo alternately oracular and caressing; Alsop held precision and flexibility in careful balance.”
“The centenary of Bernstein’s birth does not fall until next August, but in London the tributes to this larger-than-life genius have already begun, with the London Symphony Orchestra leading the way. The ensemble that Bernstein conducted more than any other in the UK, and whose president he became in 1987, kicked things off with a pair of concerts under his one-time assistant, Marin Alsop. [On the Kaddish Symphony] The composer himself revised the score several times, and there have been several attempts to rewrite the text, but Alsop opted to go back to the original; she clearly believes passionately in the viability of the Kaddish, and like her performance of the Jeremiah Symphony, it was superbly played and sung by the LSO and its Chorus, and blazed with conviction.”
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 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, 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 ninth 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.
Marin 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. Among 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.