NEW YORK, 24 JANUARY 2006—American conductor Marin Alsop is the sole classical music
performer attending the World Economic Forum's annual conference this year
in Davos, Switzerland. Held from 25 to 29 January at the exclusive ski
resort in the Swiss Alps, the Davos forum is, both a networking event
where it rains business cards and a magnet for anti-globalisation
campaigns and demonstrations. Invited guests, speakers and journalists
jockey to rub shoulders during meetings and gala dinners with the international political
and business elite of the planet. Bill Gates, Richard Branson,
George Soros, current and former heads of state and cabinet ministers, and
CEOs from most of the Fortune 100 companies typically attend.
Apart from Alsop's controversial career as an
orchestra conductor, a profession historically reserved for men, one can
also assume that the 48-year old native New Yorker's presence in Davos
reflects her status as a MacArthur Fellow. Last September, the MacArthur
Foundation awarded Alsop one of their "genius grants", a five-year,
$500,000 unrestricted fellowship awarded to individuals across all ages
and fields who, according to the MacArthur Foundation, "show exceptional
merit and promise of continued and enhanced creative work". Awards to
musicians have been rare, and mainly limited to composers and jazz
performers. Alsop is currently principal conductor of the
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in England and
the Baltimore Symphony's next music director.
At the conference Marin
Alsop is expected to speak on four different topics: Role Models for the
Next Generation, Leadership and the Musical Mind, Women and Leadership,
and in a session called, It's Not Just About the Money , which focuses on
motivation in the workplace.
Other cultural figures attending this year's World Economic Forum
include Bono, Peter Gabriel, Rem Koolhaus, Angelina Jolie, Michael Douglas
and Thomas Krens. Other Davos attendees with ties to the classical music
community include Michael Kaiser, Peter Sellars and Alexander Pereira.