Episode

Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture, Personal Journals

Chart Positions

Personal Journals 25
Society & Culture 180

Desert Island Discs was created by Roy Plomley in 1942, and the format is simple: a guest is invited by Kirsty Young to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island

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Marin Alsop

September 28th, 2014

Episode 446 of 573 episodes

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the conductor, Marin Alsop. Music Director of both The Baltimore Symphony and The Sao Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, she is a maestro with a mission: music, she believes, is a powerful vehicle for social change. She had the good fortune to be brought up in "a household that exuded possibility" and was filled with music - both her parents played professionally. She took up the piano aged two, swapped to the violin at 6 and then aged 9, saw Leonard Bernstein at work and made the decision that conducting would be her career. Much later she would go on to be mentored by the man who inspired her. It bores her when interviewers ask why there aren't more women conductors - nonetheless her capacity to maximise the few opportunities she was given as a young woman making her way in an exclusively mans' world gives one a flavour of her indomitability. Her day-to-day job after all is working out how to convince 100 experts to do what she wants. She says, "maybe it's being an only child: you want to bring people together and create this big family feeling, I don't know what it is but I always gravitated towards organising." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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