This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
BBC Learning English Launch BBC Media Player
  • Help
  • Text only
You are in: Learning English > News English > Words in the News
Learning English - Words in the News
20 July, 2005 - Published 15:06 GMT
First woman leads Baltimore orchestra
Marin Alsop

The first woman to lead a major American orchestra has been appointed despite opposition from musicians. Marin Alsop was confirmed as musical director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. This report from Oliver Conway:

Listen to the story

The role of maestro in the world's top orchestras has traditionally been a male preserve. Now Marin Alsop has broken through, though not without opposition from some of those who will be working under her.

When it became clear she was going to be appointed, a statement from the musicians said a "vast majority" wanted the search to continue. But on Tuesday, the board of directors overwhelmingly affirmed her selection.

The orchestra was rehearsing at the time and received the news in silence, according to one musician. Another, who had sat on the search committee, said their artistic expertise was being disregarded.

Marin Alsop, a forty-eight-year-old American, is currently the principal director at Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in Britain. She will take up her new role in Baltimore when Yuri Temirkanov steps down at the end of the 2006- 2007 season.

Oliver Conway, BBC, Washington

Listen to the words

usually a title given to a famous musician but it can also be used for a conductor and (as here) a musical director

a male preserve
something that only men do or have

broken through
here, doing something that other women hadn’t managed to before

working under her
members of her staff

here, nearly all of the directors voted for Marin Alsop

affirmed her selection
stated that she had the job (usually in answer to some opposition or disagreement)

received the news in silence
heard about who had got the job and said nothing – saying nothing suggests that they were not happy with the decision

sat on the search committee
was a member of the committee (looking for a new director)

take up

steps down
stops doing the job

Read more about this story
Do a comprehension test about this story

For teachers
Lesson plan Lesson plan based on this text (153k pdf)

Other Stories