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Media Advisory

U of M's School of Music to confer Honorary Degree on acclaimed conductor Marin Alsop at fall convocation concert Oct. 6

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra music director became first woman to head a major American symphony in 2007

Contacts: Lisa Marshall, School of Music, (612) 626-1094,
Ryan Maus, University News Service, (612) 624-1690,

September 8, 2009

Marin Alsop, internationally-acclaimed conductor and music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, will receive an honorary degree from the University of Minnesota at the U of M School of Music Fall Convocation program at 10 a.m., Oct. 6 in Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 Fourth St. S., Minneapolis.

The Doctor of Humane Letters is the highest award conferred by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, recognizing individuals who have achieved acknowledged eminence in their field. Aslop became the first woman to head a major American orchestra when she was appointed in 2007.

The convocation program will include a keynote address by Maestra Alsop on “Education and the Arts: Musicians as Engaged Leaders” and a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Make Our Garden Grow” by the U of M Symphony Orchestra and Combined Choirs. The School of Music will host Alsop in residence on October 5-6, where she will talk with students and faculty.

“Maestra Alsop has been invited to the university as the quintessential professional model of integrated artistry, publicly engaged musicianship and civic leadership in the world today," said School of Music director David Myers. "She is an artist-conductor who succeeds creatively across musical styles and genres, and is widely respected for her ability to relate to a wide range of audiences and constituencies. She is highly regarded for her mentorship to young musicians, universally recognized as a role model for contributing to the public good, and deeply valued as an articulate spokesperson for American music and the place of classical music in society.

"Ms. Alsop is the logical musician-leader to inspire faculty and students around public engagement, and to energize collaborative potential among the university and Twin Cities communities for nurturing attitudes of public value and service among musicians," said Myers.

In September 2007, Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the first woman to head a major American orchestra. This mirrored her ongoing success in the United Kingdom where she was Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony from 2002-08 and is now Conductor Emeritus. Alsop also continues her association as Conductor Laureate of the Colorado Symphony following 12 years as its Music Director, and since 1992 has been Music Director of California's acclaimed Cabrillo Festival which has won the coveted ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music every single year since her appointment.

Maestra Alsop’s visit to the U of M coincides with the launch of a new initiative to integrate public engagement into the curriculum and research of the School of Music. Supported by a $10,000 grant from the University of Minnesota’s Office of Community Engagement, the school will undertake a career enhancing effort for aspiring professional musicians of the 21st century: preparing them, through projects, internships, and entrepreneurial efforts, to become engaged artist-leaders among the increasingly diverse societies and communities in which they live and work.

Established in 1902, the University of Minnesota School of Music offers a dynamic, comprehensive program to more than 500 music students in undergraduate and graduate programs, led by a world-class faculty of more than 50 artists, scholars and teachers. The School of Music presents more than 400 free concerts per year. For a complete schedule of events, visit or call (612) 626-1094 for a brochure.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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