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Marin Alsop and São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra rehearsal
Courtesy of Keri Oberly
Marin Alsop and São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra rehearsal. Production photo for We Conduct in Baltimore and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Sunday, June 4, 2023 at 2:30 p.m. on KPBS 2 / Stream now with KPBS Passport!

GREAT PERFORMANCES “The Conductor” tells the story of the first female conductor of a major symphony, Marin Alsop. Documenting Alsop’s journey from playing the violin as an ambitious nine-year-old who longed to conduct, to attending Juilliard, to creating her own all-female string orchestra and swing band, to ultimately becoming music director of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Despite repeated rejection from the classical music establishment, Alsop persevered and blazed her own trail which gained her attention as a conductor and opened new opportunities for her that led to studying with legendary composer Leonard Bernstein.

GREAT PERFORMANCES: The Conductor: Preview

Featuring cinema verité scenes of Alsop conducting some of the world’s great orchestras, the new #PBSForTheArts documentary, "The Conductor," premieres Friday, March 25 on PBS in celebration of Women’s History month.

Marin Alsop on Female Conductors

Set to a carefully curated soundtrack, "The Conductor" tells Alsop’s story through a combination of rehearsal and performance footage from Baltimore, Brazil, Switzerland, New York City and includes previously unseen archival footage with her mentor Bernstein.

Learning from Leonard Bernstein

The film takes an up-close look at the conductor through intimate interviews with music experts including São Paulo Symphony Orchestra artistic director Arthur Nestrovski, Richmond City Orchestra music director Valentina Peleggi, wife Kristin Jurkscheit, members of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and more.

Marin Alsop: Credit Grant Leighton
Courtesy of Grant Leighton
Marin Alsop in GREAT PERFORMANCES "The Conductor."

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This episode is now available to stream with KPBS Passport!

The collection of #PBSForTheArts programs is available at ,, and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO.

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GREAT PERFORMANCES is on Facebook+ follow @GPerfPBS on Twitter. #PBSForTheArts.


A Nylon Films and Waystone production. Directed by Bernadette Wegenstein and produced by Annette Porter. Elizabeth Grass Weese, Robert Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker are executive producers. For GREAT PERFORMANCES, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer. The series is produced by The WNET Group.