Philadelphia Names Marin Alsop Chief Principal Conductor

By Keegan Morris |

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Marin Alsop, deep in concentration, conducting

Marin Alsop conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Leonard Bernstein's Kaddish Symphony at Ravinia in a 'Great Performances' broadcast (Photo: Patrick Gipson)

The Philadelphia Orchestra has appointed Marin Alsop principal guest conductor. The New York-born artist is one of the most in demand American conductors in the world.

Philadelphia, one of the prestigious “Big Five” American orchestras, has been led by music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin since 2012. Marin Alsop will succeed Nathalie Stutzmann, who wraps up her principal guest conductorship later this year.

Alsop has been chief conductor of Chicago-area Ravinia Festival since 2020. She is music director laureate of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, having led the ensemble as music director from 2007 to 2021. She also currently serves as artistic director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, and honorary conductor of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra.

In 2013, Alsop became the first woman to conduct BBC’s ceremonial Last Night of the Proms; since, she has twice conducted that celebrated program. In 2005, Alsop became the first conductor to win a MacArthur Fellowship.

Alsop is a steadfast champion for progress in classical music. At Ravinia, she launched the Breaking Barriers Festival, a weekend of programming dedicated to casting light on underrepresented figures in classical music and charting a more inclusive path forward in the arts.

This commitment guides Alsop’s ongoing work, and stems from its very beginning. At a 2023 Ravinia Festival Breaking Barriers panel moderated by WTTW-WFMT CEO Sandra Cordova Micek, Alsop reflected on the initial draw of being a conductor: “to be in charge of bringing people together.”