Here's another story, this time from the WaPo, on Marin Alsop, the new music director/conductor with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. It is based on a rehearsal rather than being a concert review, which offers different insights. I've been in bands and choirs most of my life, and while performing is the best, it becomes the best through rehearsal; individual players or singers may have the notes down pat, but you need to go through it a number of times before there's a sense of playing or singing together. People make subtle adjustments to one another, often unconsciously, in the interest of the ensemble sound.
I may have to get one of the orchestra's CDs to judge for myself as to musicianship. But what interests me in what I read about Marin Alsop is not so much the fact that she is a woman (though that's why she gets the ink) but that she seems to have a vision for making classical music more vital in her city that seems to have had initial success (more subscription tickets sold, an air of excitement) and just might work longer-term. My passion is still the classics, stuff at least 50 years old, but I try to listen to more modern music and give it a chance because I suspect that without living composers the music could easily die out -- preserved on CDs or whatever the next medium is, but not perhaps avidly performed -- and that would be a great loss of one of many factors that give a society the opportunity to become civilized, as well as a possible loss of a source of immense responsible pleasure. I hope the music doesn't die or become a mere relic.