Marin Alsop holds the distinction of being the inaugural woman to conduct major orchestras in the United States, Britain, Austria, and South America. Currently, she holds the esteemed position of chief conductor with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Born on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Alsop's parents were both accomplished string musicians. She commenced her violin studies at the tender age of five and gained entry into the Juilliard Pre-College Program at just seven. At nine, her father took her to witness the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein in action. This experience ignited such a profound passion in her that she expressed her desire to pursue conducting to her violin instructor, who responded with skepticism, asserting that "girls can't do that."

At the age of 16, Alsop embarked on her collegiate journey at Yale University as a mathematics major. Later, she transitioned to Juilliard to pursue both her bachelor's and master's degrees in violin, completing her studies in 1978. During her time in college, she performed alongside the New York Philharmonic and the New York Ballet.

Alsop made three attempts to secure a spot in Juilliard's conducting program, but each time, she faced rejection. Over the subsequent four years, she founded an all-female jazz string ensemble, conducted Philip Glass's opera "The Photographer," and established Concordia, a 50-piece orchestra focused on contemporary American music. In 1989, she achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first woman to receive the Koussevitzky Prize for student conducting at the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts. It was there that she met her idol and eventual mentor, Leonard Bernstein.

In the ensuing decade, Alsop assumed conducting roles with esteemed ensembles like the St. Louis Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, among others. In 2002, she broke barriers by becoming the principal conductor of Britain’s Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. During her tenure, she co-founded the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship, a program designed to bolster women in the field.

In 2005, Alsop secured a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, making her the first conductor to achieve this honor. Two years later, in yet another groundbreaking appointment, she was named musical director of the Baltimore Symphony. Alsop dedicated $100,000 of her MacArthur grant to initiate OrchKids, a pioneering outreach initiative catering to underserved schoolchildren in Baltimore. Over her 14-year tenure in Baltimore, Alsop also made history as the first female principal conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and the first woman to lead a Viennese Orchestra.

Throughout her illustrious career, Alsop has amassed a multitude of appointments, embarked on numerous tours, and recorded prolifically. Among her many professional accolades are the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Conductor Award and the Ditson Conductor’s Award for the Advancement of American Music. The documentary "The Conductor," which chronicles her remarkable journey, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2021.

In 1990, Alsop entered into marriage with Kristin Jurkscheit, a horn player. Together, they are proud parents to a son.

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Marin Alsop – LGBTQ History Month– Pride Palace

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Marin Alsop – LGBTQ History Month– Pride Palace

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Marin Alsop – LGBTQ History Month– Pride Palace

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Marin Alsop – LGBTQ History Month– Pride Palace

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Marin Alsop – LGBTQ History Month– Pride Palace

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