Marin Alsop

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9oGPI-MxX8 I've written about Gustav Mahler and his monumental symphonic achievements before , but right now I'm not sure there has ever been a more fitting symphony for our time than Mahler's Symphony No. 6. Today, as we have become immune to shock, where nothing seems too extreme and where hyperbole rules, Mahler and his Sixth Symphony seem to fit right in. Mahler was a man of excess, spectacle, illusion and indulgence. Most likely a narcissist, he was also...

This summer marks my 25 th and final season as music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, Calif. What an amazing adventure this has been, working with living composers and being at the center of so many new creations. During my tenure, beginning in 1992, we have premiered 32 festival commissions, presented 85 non-festival commissioned world premieres, 18 U.S. premieres and 75 West Coast premieres. More than 150 composers-in-residence have attended the...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj3lJZIEtHg The question of assimilation has been on my mind a lot lately. Living in this great country where individuality is embraced, our current obsession with assimilation for those choosing the U.S. as their new home seems like a strange paradox. Consider the Russian composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff . When he moved to America in 1918 he could not let go of ties to his mother country. Even with the house he bought three years later in New...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vmc72fCJivA Leonard Bernstein often said: "Every author spends his entire life writing the same book." The same could apply to composers. Probing the existential questions that haunt us was a hallmark of Bernstein both as a person and composer. He was not satisfied unless he was immersed in major issues, upending and questioning the status quo, often with irreverence and insouciance. That was what made Bernstein so much fun to be around and imbued his music with...

Richard Wagner was, and still is today, arguably the most controversial figure in classical music. A self-appointed deity and hyperdriven genius, Wagner is often considered the ultimate megalomaniac. He dreamed up and achieved a single-minded plan to change the course of classical music history. With the 200th anniversary of Wagner's birth approaching on May 22, musicians and music lovers worldwide will explore not only his operas, but also his extreme politics and egotistical worldview — in...