Marin Alsop shatters another musical glass ceiling
Marin Alsop, the former music director of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, has broken another male barrier by being appointed chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
She becomes the first woman to take charge of an orchestra in what she called the seat of classical music, the city of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. She succeeds Cornelius Meister in September 2019.
“The ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra grew artistically under the leadership of Cornelius Meister and increased its reputation both nationally and internationally” said the orchestra’s director general, Alexander Wrabetz. “Therefore, it was important that we find someone who would be able to continue to inspire and challenge us and we are thrilled to have been able to convince Marin Alsop to take up this position. She is an extraordinary conductor, who will further develop the RSO’s high artistic qualities. With her at the helm we’re in an excellent position for the future.”
American-born, Alsop has been music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007. She was honoured, she said to be joining the Vienna RSO. “We share the same enthusiasm for expanding the repertoire and for connecting with new audiences. I am deeply moved by the fact that the players instigated my appointment and I can’t wait to start this journey with them, working closely with the Orchestra’s partners in Vienna, across Austria and beyond”.
Alsop was trained by Leonard Bernstein and has been a champion of women musicians, composers and conductors, as well as of contemporary music. She told The Guardian that she welcomed the chance to “push the envelope” for women in music, but hoped the time would soon come when being “the first woman” would no longer be news.
“I’m very honoured to be the first” she said “but I’m also rather shocked that we can be in this year, in this century, and there can still be ‘firsts’ for women.”