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30.1.18

Welcome to Vienna, Marin Alsop!

Marin Alsop. Picture © Grant Leighton


Latest on Forbes:

Marin Alsop Appointed New Music Director Of ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra


Veteran conductor Marin Alsop has been named the new music director of the Austrian Broadcasting Company’s Radio Symphony Orchestra in Vienna (ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, or Vienna RSO; also referred to as the ORF Symphony Orchestra) starting with the 2019/20 season[1]. The Vienna RSO is one of four professional symphony orchestras in the greater Vienna region and vies with the Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra for that fourth spot – with the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna Symphony locked in first and second place, respectively.

A Difficult Search

The orchestra had been looking for a new candidate for a good while and the search for a successor to Cornelius Meister, who is leaving after this season, cannot have been easy. (Hence the interim year without a chief conductor.) The job isn’t so prestigious that an established conductor with a humming international career is prone to take it. But it also takes a good deal for a conductor to hold his own in Vienna; to have a pronounced enough profile that gets noticed despite the orchestral big-boys vying for medial attention...

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A Blue Fingerprint

What does this appointment mean for Women-conductors: Not that much, probably; not nearly as much as it does for journalists who love writing about that issue. Still, there is the symbolic value that an orchestra in Vienna, a town with, as the Guardian put it, a notoriously “fusty attitude towards women” in the music world, is now led by a woman. But Maestra Alsop – and in this may lie the most positive aspect for women-conductors if isn’t ruined by vapid journalistic coverage that reduces it solely to this issue – wasn’t appointed because she is a woman. (Which is presumably the only way a woman conductor would want to be appointed.) Her gender had nothing to do with it, except for the afterthought that it might serve as a nice angle to sell the story to editors who would not otherwise report about the Vienna RSO.

What will have had something to do with it, however, was Marin Alsop’s relation with the largest classical record label and all-around industry behemoth – Naxos Records. Marin Alsop has been with Naxos for many years; she was probably the first truly renowned conductor to record exclusively for Naxos – and also the first conductor whose career was notably helped by the Naxos exposure. (Previously, artists may have thought it the reputational touch-of-death to appear for the cheapo-Naxos label.) Their relation was symbiotic, successful, and prolific – and remains so.

Naxos is certainly keen on an orchestral presence with a quality orchestra in the continental European market – especially the hometown of classical music (if you will), Vienna...

Complete article on Forbes: Marin Alsop Appointed New Music Director Of ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

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