Alsop, Marin

Alsop, Marin

(ôl`səp), 1956–, American conductor, b. New York City. The daughter of professional musicians, she began playing the piano at two and the violin at five. Alsop started conducting studies with Carl Bamberger in 1979 and also studied with Harold Farberman, Leonard BernsteinBernstein, Leonard
, 1918–90, American composer, conductor, and pianist, b. Lawrence, Mass., grad. Harvard, 1939, and Curtis Institute of Music, 1941. A highly versatile musician, he was the composer of symphonic works (the Jeremiah Symphony, 1944;
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, and Seiji OzawaOzawa, Seiji
, 1935–, Japanese conductor, b. Japanese-occupied Manchuria. A graduate of the Toho School of Music, Ozawa, who was the first Japanese conductor to gain recognition in the West, won competitions in Europe and the United States and was hired (1961) by the New
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. She founded the Concordia Orchestra in 1984 and accepted her first formal conducting position with the Richmond Symphony in 1988. From 1989 to 1995 she was music director of the Eugene (Oreg.) Symphony and the Long Island Philharmonic and from 1993 to 2003 she led Denver's Colorado Symphony. A guest conductor of many leading orchestras in the United States and Europe, Alsop was principal conductor (2002–8) of England's Bournemouth Symphony and the first conductor to be awarded (2005) a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." In 2007 she became the first woman to lead a major American symphony when she assumed the music directorship of the Baltimore Symphony OrchestraBaltimore Symphony Orchestra
(BSO), founded 1916. Originally a branch of the city's municipal government, it was reorganized as a private institution in 1942. Its main home is the 2,443-seat Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (1982, renovated 1997); it also performs at the Music
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. Extremely popular, she has reinvigorated the orchestra. Throughout her career, she has shown particular interest in Romantic, contemporary, and American music.