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Marin Alsop

Kirsty Young talks to conductor Marin Alsop.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the conductor, Marin Alsop.

Music Director of both The Baltimore Symphony and The Sao Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, she is a maestro with a mission: music, she believes, is a powerful vehicle for social change.

She had the good fortune to be brought up in "a household that exuded possibility" and was filled with music - both her parents played professionally. She took up the piano aged two, swapped to the violin at 6 and then aged 9, saw Leonard Bernstein at work and made the decision that conducting would be her career. Much later she would go on to be mentored by the man who inspired her.

It bores her when interviewers ask why there aren't more women conductors - nonetheless her capacity to maximise the few opportunities she was given as a young woman making her way in an exclusively mans' world gives one a flavour of her indomitability. Her day-to-day job after all is working out how to convince 100 experts to do what she wants.

She says, "maybe it's being an only child: you want to bring people together and create this big family feeling, I don't know what it is but I always gravitated towards organising."

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 3 Oct 2014 09:00

Music Played

  • Johannes Brahms

    String Sextet in B flat Major

    Performer: Amadeus Quartet. Performer: Cecil Aronowitz. Performer: William Pleeth.
    • Amadeus Quartet: String Quartets.
    • Deutsche Gramophon.
  • Aretha Franklin


    • I never loved a man the way I love You.
    • Atlantic.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Gustav Mahler

      Symphony No 9 in D Flat Major – 4th movement

      Performer: Leonard Bernstein. Performer: New York Philharmonic.
      • Mahler: Symphonies Nos 7 & 9.
      • CBS.
  • Leonard Bernstein


    Performer: Marin Alsop. Performer: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
    • Marin Alsop: Mass/Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
    • Naxos.
  • Stéphane Grappelli

    It Don't Mean a Thing

    • Compact Jazz.
    • Caz.
  • Béla Bartók


    Performer: Benny Goodman. Performer: Joseph Szigeti. Performer: Béla Bartók.
    • Clarinet Classics.
    • Pearl.
  • Robert Schumann

    Piano Quartet

    Performer: Beaux Arts Trio. Performer: Samuel Rhodes.
    • Piano Quartet.
    • Philips.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Requiem - Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen

    Performer: MDR Leipzig Radio Choir & Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Marin Alsop.
    • German Requiem.
    • Naxos.
  • Book Choice

    • Collected works - Carl Jung

  • Luxury Choice

    • Pottery studio


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Marin Alsop
Producer Cathy Drysdale


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