Director: Bernadette Wegenstein Run Time: 90 min. Release Year: 2021
Starring: Marin Alsop
Marin Alsop is a woman of firsts. She was the first (and only) conductor to receive a MacArthur Award. Marin became the first female to be appointed as music director of a major symphony, the first female music director of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and the first woman to conduct the BBC’s ‘Last Night of the Proms’. In 2020, Marin became the first woman ever appointed as Chief Conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO) and speculation in music circles suggests that she’s on track to become the first woman to conduct the prestigious Vienna New Year’s Concert.
Born into a musical family in New York, Marin set her sights on becoming a conductor at just nine years old while accompanying her father to one of Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s concerts. Her journey to professional success was neither easy nor straightforward, however at a time when, according to NYT reporter Michael Cooper, “it was easier for a female to become a leader of a G5 nation or a Five Star General than to become a conductor of a major symphony.” Despite being told “being told “girls can’t do that” and being repeatedly rejected by the establishment of classical music,” Marin Alsop persisted and never let go of her dream of becoming a conductor. And now, as she says, “Look at me, I’m doing it!”
Set to a breathtaking soundtrack of her performances, The Conductor tells Marin’s story through a combination of intimate interviews and shared professional and private moments, encounters with musicians and cognoscenti in the music world, unseen archival footage with her mentor Leonard Bernstein, and Vérité scenes of Marin conducting some of the world’s great orchestras and teaching the next wave of conductors who, like her, were being excluded from the classical music canon.
The Conductor is shown in partnership with
Please stay following the screening for a Q&A with Karen Ní Bhroin.
Karen Ní Bhroin commenced her position as Assistant Conductor to Timothy Redmond with the Winston-Salem Symphony, North Carolina in 2020. Here, she also holds the position of Music Director of the Youth Orchestras program. During the same season, Karen accepted the position of Associate Conductor/Visiting Professor at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Ní Bhroin is originally from Co. Wexford, Ireland and is one of Ireland’s leading young conductors.
Ní Bhroin is proudly on the Taki Alsop Fellowship Mentoring Programme for 2023 with Marin Alsop.
Known equally in the USA and Europe, Ní Bhroin was RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) Conductor in Training from 2016-2018 working with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Philharmonic Choir in Dublin, Ireland. In 2017, Karen made her debut with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, conducting a lunchtime concert at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, which was broadcast live for RTÉ Lyric FM.
Assisting some of the best conductors of today’s world, Karen has assisted JoAnn Falletta, Thomas Wilkins and Nathalie Stutzmann. She has also been mentored by Marin Alsop, Timothy Redmond, Neil Thomson and John Farrer. Karen has worked as Assistant Conductor at National Music Festival USA with conductor Richard Rosenberg (2019), attended Dartington International Summer School Advanced Conducting programme (2019) and was Britten-Pears Young Artist under Marin Alsop at Snape Maltings, UK (2018). During 2021, Karen was part of the inaugural conducting academy at National Orchestral Institute, where she was a fellow again, with Marin Alsop.
A music education graduate of Trinity College Dublin, she earned her Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting at Kent State University, Ohio, where she studied with Dr. Jungho Kim as his Graduate Assistant Conductor.