Marin Alsop was the first woman to become Chief Conductor of a major American orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony. Now, she travels to Gothenburg to conduct Bartók’s one-act horror opera Bluebeard’s Castle as well as MacMillan’s dramatic The Confession of Isobel Goudie, the story of a witch gruesomely burnt at the stake.
Alsop, who believes “music can change lives”, is hailed for her trailblazing and inspiring programmes.
She studied at Yale and New York’s Juilliard School of Music, where she obtained a Master’s of Music in Violin. Afterwards, she went on to train as a conductor under legends like Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa and Gustav Meier. In 1981, she set up the string ensemble String Fever. Eight years later, she won the Koussevitzky Prize for outstanding student conductors. Besides leading the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Alsop has also been Chief Conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2019.
Introduction to the concert
Welcome to a free introduction to the concert one hour before the concert starts, in the Great Hall. The introduction is in Swedish.
MacMillan The Confession of Isobel Goudie
Bartók Duke Bluebeard's Castle
The Gothenburg Symphony, called "one of the world's most formidable orchestras" by the Guardian, has toured the USA, Europe, Japan and the Far East and performed at major music centres and festivals throughout the world. Chief conductor is Santtu-Matias Rouvali who started his tenure in 2017. Barbara Hannigan and Christoph Eschenbach are principal guest conductors since 2019.
Already at the orchestra's very first years, the great Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar was appointed principal conductor, contributing strongly to the Nordic profile of the orchestra by inviting his colleagues Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius to conduct their own works. Subsequent holders of the post include Sergiu Comissiona, Sixten Ehrling and Charles Dutoit. During Neeme Järvi's tenure (1982-2004), the orchestra became a major international force. In 1997 it was appointed the National Orchestra of Sweden. During his celebrated tenure as music director (2007-2012), Gustavo Dudamel took the Orchestra to major music centres and festivals in Europe, making acclaimed appearances at BBC Proms and Vienna Musikverein.
The list of prominent guest conductors has included Wilhelm Furtwängler, Pierre Monteux, Herbert von Karajan, Myung-Whun Chung, Herbert Blomstedt and Sir Simon Rattle. The orchestra also runs extensive concert projects for children, and regularly releases digital live concerts free on gsoplay.se. The orchestra has been involved in many prestigious recording projects, the latest one the complete Sibelius Symphonies with Santtu-Matias Rouvali for Alpha Classics. Earlier, the orchestra has issued over 100 recordings on BIS, Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos, Farao Classics and several other labels. The Gothenburg Symphony is owned by the Region Västra Götaland.