Marin Alsop, The Conductor, PBS American Experience
This is a woman who is close to my heart strings because “directing a band” is something I aspired too in my younger days. A favorite memory of my youth are the school trips to the symphony when I would close my eyes to focus on all the different sounds and instruments producing them. I could “see myself” conducting the sounds coming forth. It thrilled me and then spilled over into all the concerts I attended and there were many.
There was always music in the home. My dad was a professional jazz trumpet player earlier in his life, and my mom sang all the popular tunes of the day. My instrument of choice would have been a string instrument. However, my dad said it was too highbrow and wouldn’t approve lessons. But the music was always in me, especially strings.
Today, I use my entire body while “dancing” to the beats. But in my head, I’m still conducting the band. Marin broke the mold, changed the dialog, removed the barriers of discrimination toward women musicians of the classical genre.
I do hope you click a link above or look for it on PBS. They do repeat often, and this is part of honoring Women’s History Month.
This follows Marin Alsop’s journey to become the first female music director of a major American symphony despite repeated rejection by the classical music industry. Features archival footage with her mentor Leonard Bernstein and is set to a soundtrack of her performances.
Great Performances: The Conductor tells the story of the first female conductor of a major symphony, Marin Alsop. Documenting Alsop’s journey from playing the violin as an ambitious nine-year-old who longed to conduct, to attending Juilliard, to creating her own all-female string orchestra and swing band, to ultimately becoming music director of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Despite repeated rejection from the classical music establishment, Alsop persevered and blazed her own trail which gained her attention as a conductor and opened new opportunities for her that led to studying with legendary composer Leonard Bernstein.
Set to a carefully curated soundtrack, Great Performances: The Conductor tells Alsop’s story through a combination of rehearsal and performance footage from Baltimore, Brazil, Switzerland, New York City and includes previously unseen archival footage with her mentor Bernstein. The film takes an up-close look at the conductor through intimate interviews with music experts including São Paulo Symphony Orchestra artistic director Arthur Nestrovski, Richmond City Orchestra music director Valentina Peleggi, wife Kristin Jurkscheit, members of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and more.
Brava, Maestra Alsop.