Marin Alsop is one of the world's most acclaimed conductors. She is currently Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the first woman to hold either position.

The first and only conductor to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, Alsop has also been honoured 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. Recognised with multiple Gramophone Awards, Alsop’s extensive discography includes recordings for Decca, Harmonia Mundi and Sony Classical. 

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Watch: Marin Alsop conducts Dvorák's Symphony No. 9

Marin is a guest tutor on the National Concert Hall's award-winning Female Conductor Programme, supported by Grant Thornton; now in its second year, the programme was devised to address inequality on the podium, one of the most enduring glass ceilings for women in the world of classical music - find out more here

We asked Marin for her choice cultural pics...

FILM

I Am Greta - I can't wait to see this documentary. Greta Thunberg’s poise under enormous criticism and her single-mindedness and focus on our desperate state of the environment is inspiring. 

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MUSIC

I am currently working on Elgar's Dream of Gerontius which is a phenomenal tour de force for large orchestra, large choir and three soloists. The perennial existential questions of existence and afterlife are especially poignant during this time of loss and I long to be reunited with massive forces like these in the concert hall. 

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BOOK

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson - it’s so important to find context and understand how we ended up where we are.  I am also reading two books by some of my favourite go-to authors, Alice Hoffman's Magic Lessons and Anna Quindlen's Alternate Side.

PLAY

I haven’t been to the theatre in ages! I’m hoping to see John Lithgow in something soon! 

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TV

Of everything I’ve watched during lockdowns, The Handmaid’s Tale has made the biggest impression on me. It is a warning for all of us about how quickly things can reverse course and how fast change can be subverted.  We must all remain vigilant, not become complacent in these times. 

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GIG

 My last gathering just before the lockdown in March of 2020 was a fantastic final rehearsal for Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with the Baltimore Symphony.  Every single engagement I have had since then has felt like a blessing.  Just to make music together is so healing and inspiring - even if only for digital release. With the Vienna Radio Orchestra, I have been able to perform live and record during these months and it has been wonderful to traverse these times together. 

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ART

Mickalene Thomas: A Moment of Pleasure was the last exhibit I experienced and it was incredibly special to tour the installation with the artist herself. 

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TECH

I’m currently working with my colleague Thomas Dolby on a VR project to enable my conducting students to simulate being in front of the orchestra.  You, too, could eventually give conducting a try! 

THE NEXT BIG THING

Kamala Harris 

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Find out more about the National Concert Hall's Female Conductor Programme here