Marin Alsop, orchestrating accessibility in Baltimore

Posted on: December 8, 2014

Thursday’s (12/4) Al Jazeera America includes a text story and two-part video interview of Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and “considered one of the world’s leading conductors. The power wielded in that little baton in her hands is enormous … but the woman guiding those flights of fancy remains surprisingly down to earth. ‘Classical music became quite extreme in that you’re not supposed to clap. You’re not supposed to cough. You’re not supposed to wear this…. I always found that very off-putting,’ Alsop said. ‘Whereas my parents and our home life of classical music was all fun.’ … For Alsop, classical music should be about ‘inclusion and accessibility for people…. Baltimore, like many big American cities, has some real challenges…. The majority of the population is African-American and yet, in our orchestra and in most orchestras, there are very few African-American musicians…. What can we do to impact that?’ Her solution? OrchKids, a series of after-school music classes of all kinds of music taught in five public elementary schools…. Alsop’s goal is to get to 83,000 kids in the program – the same number of kids in the Baltimore City Public Schools. ‘You learn things overnight,’ she said of what kids get out of the program. ‘You actually have to practice.’ ”

Posted December 8, 2014