Ravinia finds a new conductor and curator | Performing Arts Feature | Chicago Reader

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Ravinia finds a new conductor and curator

Marin Alsop takes on a newly created dual role at the music festival.


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Marin Alsop is stepping into the newly created position of chief conductor and curator at the Ravinia Festival, beginning with the 2020 season. 

Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman announced the two-year appointment in a statement released today, noting that the position—combining two top artistic functions—was created specifically for her. The festival has not had a "music director" since James Conlon left in 2015.

A Leonard Bernstein conducting protégé, Alsop planned a successful series of Bernstein events at Ravinia over the last two seasons. The epic performance of Bernstein’s Mass that she conducted there last summer will be seen on national television this year.

Alsop is also chief conductor of the prestigious Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and, among many other honors, a MacArthur “Genius” fellowship winner. A pathbreaker in a field notoriously dominated by men, she has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra both at Ravinia and at Symphony Center.

Kauffman himself will be stepping down at the end of the 2020 season (he made that announcement in October). Ravinia Board of Trustees Chairman Don Civgin said in today’s announcement that Kauffman advocated for the creation of this double role for Alsop “to maintain consistency, through this transitional period, of the festival’s high artistic standards and creativity in booking.”

Her contract with the Baltimore Symphony expires in 2021.  v

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