“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.”
A conductor of vision and distinction, Marin Alsop represents a powerful and inspiring voice. Convinced that music has the power to change lives, she is internationally recognised for her innovative approach to programming and audience development, deep commitment to education, and advocacy for music’s importance in the world.
The 2019-20 season marked Alsop’s first as Chief Conductor of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, which she leads at Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Musikverein, and on recordings, broadcasts and tours. As Chief Conductor and Curator of Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, she also curates and conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming summer residencies, formalizing her long relationship with Ravinia, where she made her debut with the orchestra in 2002. Appointed in 2020 as the first Music Director of the National Orchestral Institute + Festival (NOI+F), a program of the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, she will lead a newly formed conductor academy and conduct multiple concerts each June with the NOI+F Philharmonic.
In collaboration with YouTube and Google Arts & Culture, Alsop is spearheading the “Global Ode to Joy” (GOTJ), a crowd-sourced video project to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary. Together with Germany’s official Beethoven anniversary campaign and the leading arts organizations of six continents, Alsop invites the global community to share the call for tolerance, unity and joy of the composer’s Ninth Symphony in videos tagged #GlobalOdeToJoy. The project culminates in December 2020, the month of Beethoven’s birth, with a grand video finale: a GOTJ highlight reel, set to a performance of the “Ode to Joy” anchored by the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony, the international Stay-at-Home Choir and Alsop herself.
In 2021, Alsop becomes Music Director Laureate and OrchKids Founder at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. This concludes her outstanding 14-year tenure as Music Director, which has seen her lead the orchestra on its first European tour in 13 years, on multiple award-winning recordings and in more than two dozen world premieres, besides founding OrchKids, its successful music education program for the city’s most disadvantaged youth. In 2019, after seven years as Music Director, Alsop became Conductor of Honour of Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), where she continues conducting major projects each season.
Alsop has longstanding relationships with the London Philharmonic and London Symphony orchestras, and regularly guest conducts such major international ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the Budapest Festival and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras. In 2019-20 she returned to the Philadelphia Orchestra, Danish National Symphony and Orchestre de Paris, whose season she opened in September 2020.
Recognized with multiple Gramophone Awards, Alsop’s extensive discography includes recordings for Decca, Harmonia Mundi and Sony Classical, and acclaimed Naxos cycles of Brahms with the London Philharmonic, Dvořák with the Baltimore Symphony, and Prokofiev with the São Paulo Symphony. Committed to new music, she was Music Director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music for 25 years.
The first and only conductor to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, Alsop has also been honored with the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award, and made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms. Amongst many other awards and academic positions, she serves as 2020 Artist-in-Residence at Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts, is Director of Graduate Conducting at the Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute and holds Honorary Doctorates from Yale University and the Juilliard School. To promote and nurture the careers of her fellow female conductors, in 2002 she founded the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship, which was re-named in her honor as the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship in 2020.