Here's a link to an obviously enthusiastic review of the opening concert of music director Marin Alsop's tenure as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. What I found inspiring was not so much that she's the first woman conductor of a major U.S. symphony, but what she is doing to reinvigorate the orchestra and the musical life of the city. She did Mahler and John Adams' "Fearful Symmetries," signaling that Baltimore orchestras will be hearing more pieces by living composers. I'm not all that big a fan of Adams generally, but I haven't heard this particular piece and the review made me interested in doing so.
Here's the neat stuff. When Ms. Alsop was appointed two years ago the orechestra was in debt and its concerts drew about 60 percent of capacity. She's won the confidence of the musicians and attracted money; a $1 million grant allows the orchestra to offer all tickets to subscribers at $25 (like Anthony Tommasini, "I am continually amazed at the impact a sum like $1 million, pocket change in popular culture, can have in classical music."). And the orchestra is recording again; a Sony Classical release of John Corigliano's "Red Violin" concerto with violinist Joshua Bell, "took the top spot on the Billboard classical chart in September."
Sounds like she's a good musician and a good leader.