Internationally renowned conductor Marin Alsop smashed the glass ceiling when she became the first woman to serve as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. 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. This exhilarating documentary gives us a backstage pass to the artistry and energy that rewards her audiences and inspires her students today.
With unprecedented access, director Bernadette Wegenstein accompanies Marin Alsop to classical concerts around the world, telling Marin's story through a combination of intimate interviews and shared moments in the Maestra’s professional and private life, encounters with cognoscenti in the music world, unseen archival footage with her mentor Leonard Bernstein, and vérité scenes of Marin teaching the next wave of conductors who, like her, were being excluded from the classical music canon. The Conductor has a winning frankness that enables the audience to fall under the spell of its profoundly articulate protagonist. It’s a triumphant film about overcoming discrimination and realizing one’s talent against all odds. —Lucy Mukerjee
Bernadette Wegenstein is a filmmaker and professor of media studies at Johns Hopkins University. She holds a PhD in linguistics and romance languages from Vienna University and authored several books on media studies and body theory. She’s directed four documentaries, including The Conductor and The Good Breast.