Next month Grammy-nominated chamber group THE MAGGINI QUARTET will
answer your questions.
Submit your enquiries at the bottom of the page!
you please persuade Naxos to let you record the Brahms symphonies with
the BSO? You are the most dynamic, exciting Brahms conductor for many a year!
A: Thank you!
I am starting the Brahms symphonies and overtures with the LPO for
Naxos and will do a Brahms choral works CD with the BSO. The
project commences in January!
Q: I'm the Editor of a publication that focuses on careers for
scientists. This is a world in
which women are relatively well-represented, but mostly at lower levels; it's rare
to see women winning Nobel prizes, or leading
research institutes. In other words it's quite similar to the music world, or I think it is--I
know the music world much less well. My
question for you: Why, in your view, are there so few women leading orchestras, opera companies, and
so on, when there are (in my estimation)
at least as many gifted female soloists and (increasingly) young orchestra members? To put
the question more personally--what barriers
have you confronted and overcome in your career, and what advice would you give to young
women who aspire to leadership positions
A: I do not think
that women have been unsuccessful in achieving stature in these fields
due to a dearth of talent, but rather due to enormous societal
conditioning. We are unaccustomed to seeing women in society's
highest positions, whether in business or government, and until that
fundamentally changes, we will not see women in the top authority roles
in any other fields. I think it's telling that Great Britain had
very little hesitation in appointing me as the first woman to lead a
major British orchestra and I think this bears out my theory.
The advice I give young women is two-fold. Perseverance is a key,
critical quality to nurture. Don't give up! Also, try not
to interpret rejections as gender-based. Take every rejection as
an opportunity to become better at what you do.
Maestra Alsop - I was very
excited to discover that you have recorded so much Samuel Barber for Naxos as I was
fortunate enough to be present when you
conducted the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Perth in 2000. Of all the concerts I've attended over the
years, yours with the WASO has been
one of the stand-outs in my memory, with an exciting program of (if memory serves) Copland, Ives and of course,
Barber. I have always enjoyed
the freshness of the work of these American composers, being brought up as I was on the standard
European repertoire. What do you personally
feel is the essence of the works of the above Americans that differentiates them from the Europeans,
given that (I feel) they are part
of the same Western tradition?
Thank you! I remember my trip to Perth with
great fondness. I fell in love with the area and the
These American works share a tradition with the great European
repertoire, but they bring a fresh sense of optimism, positiveness, and
a genuine sense of joy. There is an immediacy to this music that
Is there one piece that you have never conducted which you would really
like to conduct?
Symphony No. 8 and Varese's Ameriques. They call for such
enormous forces that most orchestras balk at the suggestion.
Q: Of all the advice that Leonard Bernstein gave you when
you were his pupil, which advice has served
you best the most?
taught me about story in music - that every piece has it's own story,
complete with a moral! And that my primary commitment must always
be to the composer. He also taught me to be myself. He was
an enormous figure and phenomenal influence on so many people's lives.
Q: For decades I have been
waiting for someone to come along and champion the music of Samuel
Barber. I am delighted both by your performances with the RSNO
here in Glasgow and the subsequent recordings for Naxos. If you
were offered the chance to record the works of one other American
composer, whom would you choose and why?
A: I would choose Leonard Bernstein next, then
Aaron Copland, then Roy Harris . . . but I could also be enticed more
towards the living American composers: Christopher Rouse, John
Corigliano, John Adams. (That wasn't fair, was it? You
asked for one and I gave you six . . .)
Q: Do you have any holiday
traditions with your friends and family?
A: My only
definite is to do performances of my gospel Messiah, "Too Hot to Handel."
It's an absolute blast!
To find out more
about Marin Alsop's "Too Hot to Handel," visit www.toohot2handel.com. Thanks
to Marin Alsop and everyone who submitted questions!