Marin Alsop has been awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society.
The award, which celebrates the American conductor’s outstanding services to music, was presented on stage the BBC Proms on Thursday, where she conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s performance of works by John Adams and Mahler.
Alsop is currently the music director of both Baltimore in the US and Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra in Brazil, but also has very strong ties with the UK – a former principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, last year she became the first ever woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms.
On top of her conducting duties, she works closely with communities in Baltimore. Her ‘Rusty Musicians’ are adult amateur musicians who are given the chance to play with the Symphony Orchestra, and the ‘OrchKids’ programme, founded in 2008, reaches over 700 children in poorer areas of the city, introducing them to the joy of music.
In making the presentation, the Royal Philharmonic Society, which dates back to the early 19th century, describes Alsop as ‘an inspiring and distinguished artist who is also a role model for the 21st-century musician. She is as widely recognised for her imaginative programming as for her deep commitment to education and to the development of audiences of all ages.’ Alsop in turn joins the likes of fellow conductors Arturo Toscanini, Lorin Maazel and Pierre Boulez in receiving the prestigious honour.