New Times: What made you want to be a conductor?
Marin Alsop: I saw Bernstein conduct when I was kid and that was it: I was sold.
Talk about Bernstein: What was he like?
He was great, very generous, brilliant. He wasn't just about music, he was about being a human being, and for me that's an important part of living, too.
Tell me about The Age of Anxiety.
It draws inspiration from an epic poem by W.H. Auden. It's quite complex, basically about these characters that meet at a bar. They start sinking into sort of an unconscious realm, and they have these imaginary journeys together, and they're literal and metaphorical journeys about the different stages of life. The question for Bernstein is what is faith? And do we have faith? And have we experienced a crisis of faith?
Does great music have the power to provide solace to people?
What's so fantastic about art and music is that it really represents the best of humanity. It's the essence of our creativity, and it's a way to share tremendous emotion in a very abstract way, without dumping on anybody. Just to really be together and experience an emotional journey that can be slightly different for all the individuals at a concert. I find that music has brought a lot of solace to people in these times. Great music has taken on more profundity and more meaning for individuals because I think our lives are more profound now.