Watch conductor Marin Alsop’s moving tribute to her parents

Photo: Young Marin Alsop with her mother
A young Marin Alsop with her mother, Ruth Alsop, a cellist with the New York City Ballet Orchestra.

Marin shared with the musical community yesterday that she has lost both of her parents in the last two weeks. During her years in Denver as the Music Director for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, she frequently talked with us about the role her parents played in instilling a lifelong love of music in her and supporting her childhood goal to be a conductor.

Losing one parent is difficult, much less both in such a short time. Although Marin doesn't live in Denver anymore, we have maintained a relationship with her over the years and will be sending our condolences -- along with any that you wish to leave below in the comments section -- to her and her family.

Alsop posted brief notes and obituary details about her parents on Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc blog on Wednesday. Cellist Ruth Alsop, 82, passed away Jan. 23. Violinist Keith Lamar Alsop, 85, died Feb. 3. Alsop’s parents both played with the New York City Ballet Orchestra for decades, her father having served as concertmaster for more than 30 years. A memorial is planned for later this year in New York City.

Over the years, Alsop often noted the inspiration and encouragement she received from her musician parents when she decided as a child that she wanted to be a conductor. In a biographical Q&A on her website, she said:

My parents are both classical musicians and they could never ever imagine a life for their child that was not filled with music! My first instrument was piano which I started at a very early age and then I started violin when I was 5 or 6 years old. …

My father took me to hear Bernstein do a Young People's concert when I was 9 or 10 years old and that was it for me! I absolutely knew that I wanted to become a conductor and never changed my mind!

In one especially poignant tribute, Marin Alsop acknowledged her parents last year on the evening she became the first female conductor ever to lead the annual BBC Last Night of the Proms concert in London:

I didn’t grow up with many of the advantages that typically define privilege. But I grew up with the greatest advantage of all, in a household filled with music and filled with possibility. My parents were both professional musicians and they supported my dream when I was 9 years old and I wanted to become a conductor -- oh, actually, even last week when people said ‘girls can’t do that’, my parents supported me.

Watch the full video:

Alsop led the Colorado Symphony from 1993 through 2005 and maintains close ties to the Colorado community. If you’d like to leave condolences for her, feel free to post them in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.