Marin Alsop and John Adams at a performance of Adams' Dr. Atomic at the Cabrillo Festival in 2008. Cabrillo Festival hide caption

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A Parting Gift — With Legs — For Marin Alsop At The Cabrillo Festival

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Serge Rachmaninoff, photographed in 1919, somewhere outside of San Francisco. Wikimedia Commons hide caption

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Rachmaninoff: An American Without Assimilation

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From a 2012 New York Philharmonic production of Candide, Marin Alsop conducts a cast that includes (from right) Kristin Chenoweth, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Paul Groves and Janine LaManna. Randy Brooke/WireImage hide caption

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In 'Candide,' Bernstein Fuses Philosophy And Comedy

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Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich's once brilliant career took a dive after the official party paper criticized one of his operas in 1936. Shostakovich responded with his powerful Fifth Symphony. Central Press/Getty Images hide caption

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Power And Struggle In A Soviet Symphony

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Alexander Scriabin originally set out to write a piece called "Orgiastic Poem," centered on physical ecstasy, but later decided to alter the title to something more ambiguous. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Postlude To A Kiss: Scriabin's Raging 'Poem Of Ecstasy'

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Titania awakes clinging rapturously to Bottom, still wearing the donkey's head, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mendelssohn wrote music for a production of the play in 1843. Henry Fuseli/Getty Images hide caption

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Marin Alsop's Guide To Mendelssohn's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

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Gustav Mahler wanted each of his symphonies to contain a world of emotions and ideas. Library of Congress hide caption

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A Debut Symphony That Embraced The World

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Benjamin Britten takes a cup of tea during rehearsals for his War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral, in Coventry, England in May, 1962. Erich Auerbach/Getty Images hide caption

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Consumed By Violence, With Hope For Peace: Britten's 'War Requiem'

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Leonard Bernstein's Age of Anxiety symphony is as unconventional as its creator. Courtesy of Library of Congress hide caption

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Leonard Bernstein's Unconventional 'Anxiety'

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Rudolph Cronau's drawing of Wagner's opera house, Bayreuth, flanked by his birthplace (left) and place of death. Wikimedia Commons hide caption

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Extreme Drama: The Life And Music Of Richard Wagner

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Stride piano pioneer James P. Johnson had dreams of becoming a successful symphonic composer. William Gottlieb hide caption

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Treasures In The Attic: Finding A Jazz Master's Lost Orchestral Music

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The traditional Jewish Kaddish prayer gets turned on its head in Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 3. Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Leonard Bernstein's 'Kaddish' Symphony: A Crisis Of Faith

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Sergei Prokofiev (pictured) wrote a Fifth Symphony that has special resonance in Sao Paulo for conductor Marin Alsop. Library of Congress hide caption

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A Grand Soviet Symphony, By Way Of Brazil

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British composer Edward Elgar, seated at his desk at Severn House in Hampstead. His Symphony No. 1 was hailed as the best British symphony ever when it debuted in 1908. Reginald Haines/Getty Images hide caption

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Elgar's Belated Symphony: Majestic, Noble And Perfectly British

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Richard Strauss' iconic opening to Also Sprach Zarathustra evokes a sense of vastness and power, Marin Alsop says. Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Alsop Sprach Zarathustra: Decoding Strauss' Tone Poem

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Actress Jean Seberg plays Joan of Arc in the 1957 Otto Preminger film Saint Joan. AFP/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Arthur Honegger's Joan Of Arc For The Ages

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Giuseppe Verdi poured operatic drama into his Requiem, written in 1874 in memory of his friend Alessandro Manzoni. /Getty Images hide caption

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Verdi's Requiem: An Opera In Disguise

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Samuel Barber in 1944. Wikimedia Commons hide caption

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Building A Career On Barber, The Enigmatic American

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Marin Alsop Discusses Mahler With Scott Simon

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Hear Marin Alsop and Scott Simon Discuss Gershwin On 'Weekend Edition Saturday'

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Conductor Marin Alsop (right) with composer Christopher Rouse at the Cabrillo Music Festival Cabrillo Festival/R.R. Jones hide caption

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An Oasis Of New Music At The Cabrillo Festival

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Jennifer Higdon And Me: A Musical Friendship

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Copland: Early Music From America's Composer

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Revisiting Bernstein's Immodest 'Mass'

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Hear Marin Alsop discuss Schumann with NPR's Scott Simon

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