Marin Alsop

In 2005, Marin Alsop made history when she became the first woman to be named music director of a major U.S. orchestra. Alsop was appointed as the successor to Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov as director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Her inaugural season began in 2007, though she served as interim director the previous year. The announcement came at a time of resentment among musicians toward the BSO management, and the players balked at the method of choosing Alsop. However, once Alsop came on board and several managers departed, morale improved. Alsop is credited with introducing more modern music to the BSO's repertoire and embracing technology. Under Alsop, the BSO released a live performance of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" on iTunes, and her debut was broadcast live on XM Satellite Radio. The orchestra also had its first commercial recording in eight years, a performance of John Corigliano's "Red Violin Concerto" with Joshua Bell. Alsop brings to the BSO a wealth of experience. She founded her own orchestra when she couldn't get into Julliard's conducting program. She studied with Leonard Bernstein and became music director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. In 2002, she was the first woman to be named principal conductor of a major British orchestra. In 2005, she was one of the recipients of the MacArthur genius grant, an award of $500,000 that recognizes "creativity, originality and potential."