She won the Koussevitzky Prize as outstanding student conductor at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1989, where she studied under Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, and Gustav Meier, among others. Alsop has been music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California since 1991. The festival specializes in contemporary orchestral music. From 1993 to 2005, she was music director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, initially starting with the title principal conductor.
She is now the orchestra's conductor laureate. She has also served as music director of the Eugene Symphony in Eugene, Oregon. She was associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony in Richmond, Virginia from 1988 to 1990. On September 20, 2005, Alsop became the first conductor ever to receive the MacArthur Fellowship. In September 2007, Alsop was appointed the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO).
Alsop became BSO's Music Director Designate in the 2006-2007 concert season, and in the 2007–2008 season, she assumed the orchestra's directorship, thus becoming its 12th music director. Her selection is noteworthy because Alsop is the first woman to lead a major American orchestra. The decision to appoint Alsop was surrounded in controversy when it became apparent that some of the orchestra's members were opposed to the manner in which management handled the appointment, the fact that they were excluded from the music director search process. However, the orchestra and Alsop met after the announcement and smoothed over their differences.
In June 2009, the orchestra announced the extension of her contract for another five years through August 2015. Since officially assuming the music director post at the Baltimore Symphony in September 2007, Alsop's initiatives with the Baltimore Symphony have included the "Webumentary Film Series" and a free iTunes podcast, "Clueless About Classical." She recently announced a new education after-school program call "OrchKids", in which underprivileged children from Baltimore will receive free music instruction, based on Venezuela's El Sistema program. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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