Good News for Marin Alsop

Baltimore Sun just announced that Marin Alsop’s contract with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has been extended until “at least” 2015!

The article, linked here, expresses the excitement that conductor and musicians felt at the development. Perhaps a quote from the conductor says it best, “I’m very, very happy about it.” And I think Alsop’s quote is also representative of the those of us who all-too-clearly remember the resistance that was first felt just three years ago when she was originally appointed to the position. Alsop commented further on her personal website:

My work so far with the Baltimore Symphony has been the thrill of a lifetime. Our progress over the past two seasons is the epitome of collaboration. The dedication and talent of the BSO musicians, the business oversight and support from the board, the vision and unbridled energy from our management and staff, and the community’s enthusiasm and imagination for music—it has taken all of these ingredients to bring the BSO to this level of music-making. I cannot imagine leading a more exciting and progressive orchestra.

Alsop’s work at the Baltimore Symphony is well documented, and highly praised. In her time as music director she has led the organization of an after-school program for children, significantly increased attendance at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and led the orchestra in recording projects – the first in nearly ten years. According to the feature article Alsop has future hopes, (not in-the-works plans) of a summer series.

But the work of this conductor hardly begins and ends in Maryland. Her devotion to education outreach also extends to a series at NPR where she discusses composers and their works. Her latest piece was on none other than Jennifer Higdon and the friendship that the two women have shared throughout their careers. Though they do approach the dreaded “woman conductor/composer” question, if only to get it out of the way, the 12 minute piece, which was inspired by the June 4th performance of Higdon’s Violin Concerto (performed by Hilary Hahn), does handle the questions with grace. And, as seems to always be the case, they end with more questions than what they began with. I do recommend giving the story a listen-to, if only to become more acquainted with Higdon’s work as they shared samples of her Percussion Concerto, Soprano Sax Concerto, and Blue Cathedral. (Fuller versions are also available through the NPR website.)

So we can be glad for the continued work of Marin Alsop being recognized and continued. And we can also be glad for Marin Alsop conducting a work by Jennifer Higdon and performed by Hilary Hahn. We can’t deny that we’re moving forward! I’m sure we can all look forward to more great things from Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony in the years to come!

Photo from: