Hearing this week's applause, it's easy to forget the storm surrounding Marin Alsop’s appointment as music director in Baltimore. The first woman to lead a major US ensemble, Alsop faced angry musicians when she was named 2 years ago. But in her debut, she lead a driving, demanding performance, impressing the Baltimore Sun's critic with her "clarity of attack."
When musicians first threatened mutiny, Alsop flew in and impressed them with her orchestral vision. She showed off that vision this week with "a real sense of expressive exhilaration" in Mahler's Fifth and "a cheeky blast" with John Adams' Fearful Symmetries. Adams' "bad boy" piece seemed made to ruffle feathers, the Sun's critic wrote, just like Alsop herself.