Marin Alsop has been named chief conductor and curator of the Ravinia Festival, the iconic outdoor music venue announced Wednesday. The two-year post, created especially for Alsop, is a first in the festival’s 116-year history.
In the past two seasons, Alsop curated the Ravinia Festival’s centennial celebrations of Leonard Bernstein, her mentor. And she conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Bernstein’s “Mass,” which will be broadcast on PBS as part of its series “Great Performances.”
This summer, Alsop will conduct the CSO in two weeks of concerts, including works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff. She’ll also conduct a contemporary oratorio to the silent film “The Passion of Joan of Arc.”
And Alsop will preside over Ravinia events celebrating legendary women and the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.
Ravinia CEO and President Welz Kauffmann has been an advocate of Alsop’s work for many years and was instrumental in the appointment. Kauffmann is stepping down at the end of the 2020 season.
Alsop, 63, is a native of New York City. The child of professional musicians, she attended Yale University and the Juilliard School. At the Tanglewood Music Center, she was mentored by Leonard Bernstein.
She is also conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and remains the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, where she was appointed in 2007.
Alsop joins “Chicago Tonight” in discussion.