Whoop! Whoop! Marin Alsop!

Marin Alsop adds the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra to her already impressive roster of conducting commitments, following an announcement today that in September 2019 she’ll take up the role of Chief Conductor of Austrian broadcaster ORF’s principal band.

It’s great news – perfectly timed for a Monday morning – which does much to raise a smile. Marin is a breath of fresh air on the podium – a spirited committed performer whose connection with the musicians she works with makes any appearance a must-attend.

She’s conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Southbank on Sunday in a concert of Beethoven, featuring violinist Nicola Benedetti.

The Guardian refers to the moment Marin appeared as the first female conductor at the Last Night of the Proms. I remember there being a bit of Marin overload before and during the Proms season in 2013, almost as though the BBC wanted to gain credit for the booking rather than Marin herself. The notoriety of a woman on the Last Night podium felt like it was doing Marin an unwitting disservice. That said, her call to arms during the Last Night speech “girls can do it” was a moving affair.

Remembering that moment makes this new appointment for Marin Alsop feel like a key moment – a new chapter. With Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla heading up the CBSO too, a new style of conductor provides those of us who write about classical music with a new opportunity to write about the role and contribution of a conductor, clarifying what newcomers and occasional listeners quite understandably regard as a murky role.

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