Ravinia Festival names Marin Alsop to new post of chief conductor and curator

Posted on: February 5, 2020

“Marin Alsop, an international conductor known for her innovative approaches to programming and audience development, has been named the first-ever chief conductor and curator of the Ravinia Festival,” writes Kyle MacMillan in Wednesday’s (2/5) Chicago Sun-Times. “Continuing the steady upward trajectory of a career … she took over in October as chief conductor of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she continues as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Alsop, … who stepped down in 2016 after 25 years as music director and conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, Calif., said multiple factors attracted her to the position. At the top of the list was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which has had a summer residency at Ravinia since 1936…. Alsop’s new position takes the place of Ravinia’s former music director title. Conductor James Conlon stepped down in 2015 after 11 years in that role…. Because the festival has broadened its programming focus in recent decades [Ravinia President and CEO Welz] Kaufman said, the music director title became outdated. It came to wrongly imply that the person in the position was overseeing all the festival’s musical offerings and not just those related to the CSO.”

In photo: Marin Alsop conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 (“Jeremiah”) at the Ravinia Festival in 2018. Photo by Patrick Gipson / Ravinia Festival