Marin Alsop (2017)
Marin Alsop, BMus (Julliard), MMus (Julliard), Hon DMus (Bournemouth)
American conductor and violinist Marin Alsop is an inspiring and powerful voice in the international music scene, recognised worldwide for her innovative approach to programming and for her deep commitment to education and to the development of audiences of all ages.
Her conducting career was launched when, in 1989, she was a prize-winner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition and in the same year was the first woman to be awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize from the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was a pupil of Leonard Bernstein. In 2007 she was appointed the twelfth music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the first female to hold such a position with any major American orchestra.
She is also the principal conductor and music director of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, arranging its 2012 European tour and first-ever appearance at The Proms in August 2012 and again in August 2016.
In 2005 she became the first conductor to receive a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellowship, a prize awarded annually to citizens or residents of the United States who have shown ‘extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction’.
In 2007 she was one of eight conductors of UK orchestras to endorse the 10-year classical music manifesto, “Building on Excellence: Orchestras for the 21st century”, which gave free entry to a classical music concert to all British schoolchildren as part of its drive to increase the presence of classical music in the UK.
Since August 2015 she has been Director of Graduate Conducting at the Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University.
In 2016 she stood down as Music Director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, where for 25 years she had built a devoted audience for new symphonic music by living composers and worked to promote the careers of both prominent and up-and-coming composers.
In 2013 she became the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, repeating this in September 2015. In between these two appearances she conducted a September 2014 Proms concert of music by John Adams and by Gustav Mahler, at which event she was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society.
She has served as principal guest conductor with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and with the City of London Sinfonia, as Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and appears most seasons with both the London Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
She was voted Gramophone magazine’s Artist of the Year in 2003, the same year she also won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s conductor’s award. She was the only classical musician in The Guardian’s ‘Top 100 women’ on the centenary of International Women’s Day in 2011.
Marin has twice been Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre, and is currently Artist-in-Residence at Aldeburgh Music at Snape Maltings in Suffolk conducting the Britten-Pears Orchestra, which brings together young musicians from around the world. In 2017 she is delivering masterclasses in London for women conductors, and delivering a Women of Achievement Lecture at the University of Oxford at the invitation of the Vice-Chancellor.