Press Room

Marin Alsop named Chief Conductor of São Paulo Symphony

Marin Alsop will take up the post of Chief Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) at the start of the 2012 season.  Over a five-year contract period, Alsop—in collaboration with the orchestra’s Artistic Director, Arthur Nestrovski—will steer the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in its artistic and creative programming, both at home and on tour, as well as in its recording ventures and its education and outreach activities.
Alsop is expected to conduct 30 to 40 concerts per season and will also tour and record with the orchestra.  She follows Yan Pascal Tortelier, the orchestra’s Principal Conductor from 2009 to 2011, who will become Guest Conductor of Honor for 2012 and 2013.  Alsop continues as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, having renewed her contract there until 2015.
The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1954, enjoys an international reputation; in December 2008 it was named one of the world’s three most exciting up-and-coming orchestras by Gramophone magazine.  It plays over 90 concerts each season in its 1,500-seat hall, the Sala São Paulo, situated in a magnificent former railway station that was reopened as a cultural center in 1999.  A flagship institution of Brazil’s most populous and economically important city—and the largest metropolis in the southern hemisphere—it has a list of 11,000 subscribers and runs educational programs attended by nearly 80,000 students every year.  With 109 musicians in the orchestra and a 60-strong professional choir, the organization also runs youth choirs, an orchestral academy for exceptional young musicians, training for music teachers, and a publishing house for Brazilian music.
The orchestra has toured extensively in Brazil, South America, the USA, and Europe—most recently in November 2010, when it enjoyed a warm reception at venues including Vienna’s Musikverein, Salzburg’s Grosses Festspielhaus, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, and Madrid’s Academia Nacional.  Its recorded catalog runs to more than 30 CDs, released in Brazil by Biscoito Fino and internationally by BIS.
Marin Alsop conducted OSESP for the first time in 2010, in three performances of Mahler’s Symphony No 7.  “I was truly impressed with the quality and commitment of the OSESP,” she says, “and I am thrilled by the enormous possibilities in front of us.  I have been incredibly inspired by the musicians’ desire to make great music at an extremely high level, combined with their openness and hunger to embrace new ideas and initiatives.  I was immediately struck by the whole organization’s sense of adventure and their willingness to break through barriers in order to achieve the highest goals.  Brazil is currently undergoing an economic and cultural revival and I look forward immensely to both contributing to and being part of that in the future.”
Marcelo Lopes, Executive Director of OSESP, responded:
“When I heard Marin’s speech at the American Symphony Orchestra League Conference in Nashville in 2007, I was completely thrilled with her enthusiasm for music as a motor of human growth.  Her energy, commitment to community work, and passion for music education were so sincere and legitimate that I was immediately inspired with new ideas on how to turn the OSESP into a more vigorous cultural force in São Paulo.  I strongly believe she is the right conductor to inspire our musicians, to bring them into innovative projects, and consolidate the orchestra as a first-class international institution.  We feel very lucky and delighted with this new partnership.”
The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra has also named Brazilian-born conductor Celso Antunes as Brazilian Associate Conductor, for five years from 2012.  Each season, he will conduct at least two different programs with the orchestra (in six to eight concerts) and one program with the choir.
About Marin Alsop
Alsop is Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, a post she has held since September 2007.  She has reinvigorated the orchestra with her artistic vision, programming, outstanding musicianship, and inspiring leadership.  Under Alsop’s directorship the BSO has seen a significant increase in fund-raising, attendance, recordings, and the launch of educational and mentoring initiatives such as OrchKids and RustyMusicians that have transformed the orchestra’s relationship with its community.
Prior to her appointment at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Alsop was Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony from 2002-08 and is now the British orchestra’s Conductor Emeritus.  In addition to holding the title of Music Director at several major international music festivals, Alsop is also a regular guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, and appears every season with both the London Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestras.  In January 2011, Alsop was appointed Artist-in-Residence at London’s Southbank Centre, where she was Artistic Director of the Bernstein Project over the 2009-10 season.
Alsop has received a wealth of industry awards which include the Classical BRIT Award for Best Female Artist, the Gramophone Award for Artist of the Year, the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Conductor’s Award, Musical America’s 2009 Conductor of the Year, and—most recently—another Gramophone Award for her recording of John Adams’s Nixon in China.  In 2010, Alsop added two further trophies to her collection of Grammy Awards.
She made history when she was appointed Music Director in Baltimore, thus becoming the first woman to head a major American orchestra.  In 2005 she became the first conductor to be conferred the USA’s prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.  Among her other prizes are a European Women of Achievement Award.  In Autumn 2008 she became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and her achievements at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music have been recognized annually with the ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.

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