Maron Alsop has renewed her contract with Baltimore for a second time, taking her through to 2021. Here’s the release.
Marin Alsop Extends Contract as Music Director
of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Through to the 2020-2021 Season
Baltimore, Md. (July 24, 2013) – The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announces that Music Director Marin Alsop will continue her commitment to the Orchestra with the signing of a six-year contract that extends from September 2015 to August 2021, her second contract renewal with the Orchestra. Maestra Alsop began her tenure as the Orchestra’s 12th music director in September 2007; in 2009 she renewed her contract through 2015. This latest contract ensures that the BSO’s popular music director will continue to be on the podium for approximately half of all classical subscription programs.
Heralded for revitalizing the Orchestra in her early tenure, Marin Alsop continues to enhance the overall strength of the organization by upholding the highest of artistic standards, creating new access points for community members of all backgrounds and building audiences by transforming the concert experience. Her bold programming and artistic leadership have garnered repeat invitations to Carnegie Hall, secured recordings on major labels and earned critical acclaim. Of the BSO’s 2013 Carnegie Hall performance at the Spring for Music festival, The Baltimore Sun commented: “The BSO soared in the Prokofiev symphony, with a downright lush tone from the strings, crackling woodwinds, confident and smoothly balanced outpouring from the brass, tight percussion. Alsop again conducted not just from memory, but from the heart, bringing out its lyrical heart, not just its aggressive elements, all very persuasively.”
Further, Ms. Alsop has launched several progressive initiatives that have attracted national attention for the BSO as a leader in how a symphony orchestra in the 21st century can increase its relevance in the community. She has overseen the development of programs like OrchKids, the El Sistema-inspired music program for youth in Baltimore that provides music lessons, tutoring and life enrichment opportunities for now more than 600 children. She has capitalized on BSO audiences’ interest in direct, hands-on participation in the arts by developing side-by-side programs like the BSO Academy and Rusty Musicians, which allow adult amateur musicians the chance to share the stage with the professional musicians of the BSO. She has even transcended the notion that an orchestra’s contribution to a community should be restricted to its performances. In 2012, she co-curated Women of the World (“WOW”) Baltimore, a three-day festival celebrating the achievements of and issues facing women in today’s society.
Notable, too, is how these efforts have positively affected the BSO’s ticket sales and contributed income. The season prior to Ms. Alsop’s arrival (2006-2007), capacity averaged 58% at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (“Meyerhoff”) and 77% at Music Center at Strathmore (“Strathmore”). In the most recent season (2012-2013), capacity is up to 70% at the Meyerhoff and 80% at Strathmore. Further, since Alsop’s inaugural season (2007-2008), the number of contributions to the BSO has nearly doubled to approximately 10,000, inspired by the BSO’s expanding creative range of concert offerings and attractive programs for young people and families during this period. Additionally, new BSO projects such as OrchKids and the BSO Academy, which are first-of-a-kind programs in the U.S., have attracted the attention and financial support of national organizations, recognizing these programs as prototype models for the entire orchestra industry.
“Marin’s early tenure was remarkable for the dramatic way she revitalized this institution,” said BSO President and CEO Paul Meecham. “On stage, the BSO-Alsop partnership quickly gelled to produce some electrifying performances that have galvanized the BSO’s audiences. Off the podium, her bold engagement initiatives have now had time to take root and create a lasting, meaningful impact in this community: OrchKids has grown exponentially to become a life-changing program for Baltimore City children; the BSO Academy annually attracts amateur musicians from around the world and has garnered international coverage; and Off the Cuff, in which she offers engaging commentary on selected masterworks, is among the BSO’s most popular series. She is in-demand around the globe and the BSO is proud that she has chosen to call Maryland home for another six years.”
BSO Board Chair Ken DeFontes said, “Marin Alsop’s vision for how an orchestra can be relevant for a community has been the driving force to propel this organization forward. She is equally as comfortable conducting major repertoire on the stage of Carnegie Hall as she is connecting with the young musicians in the BSO’s OrchKids program, or engaging audiences in demystifying symphonic music. This multi-faceted competency is rare and the BSO and the entire community are fortunate to have her at the helm through the organization’s centennial celebrations in 2016 and beyond.”
Of the appointment, Marin Alsop commented, “I am deeply grateful and excited for the opportunity to lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for several more years. This Orchestra’s artistic caliber coupled with their passion for music makes it my privilege to assume the podium each week. With the support of the BSO board and tireless staff, the Orchestra and I have many accomplishments of which I am quite proud. But I am certainly not finished! I have more ideas to benefit this Orchestra and community and the BSO is my perfect partner towards realizing these goals.”