Here's my new favorite cd to listen to when my kids are in the car (can you tell I'm big on sneaky learning?): The Story of Classical Music, written by Darren Hensley and read by the latest addition to my virtual wall of heroes, Marin Alsop. About the cd, briefly--Alsop is very engaging, and Hensley includes the most interesting little nuggets about composers, some that I, with graduate level music history classes in my not-too-distant past, did not know. Definitely worth downloading!
I looked for Marin Alsop at iTunes, thinking that she made a terrific narrator and, if there were more cds out there with her on them, I'd definitely want to check them out. Turns out I already have one of them--Joshua Bell playing Corigliano's Red Violin Concerto with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Marin Alsop! I'm not plugged into the classical scene as much as I once was, so somehow I missed the emergence of this amazing (female!) conductor. There are recordings not only of her conducting the Baltimore Symphony, but also the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the London Philharmonic, among others. I can't wait to check out Mark O' Connor's Fiddle Concerto, with Alsop at the helm of the Concordia Orchestra, which is unfortunately (or fortunately, since I'd like to sleep at some point while it's still dark) not available on iTunes.
While making a name for herself as a conductor of core symphonic literature, Alsop also seems to be on a mission to make classical music accessible to new generations of the public. She has several podcasts, including Clueless about Classical? and Marin Alsop's Musical Journey, which are both free through iTunes. More podcasts, and a plethora of other interesting material, can be found here, at Alsop's website.