THE CONDUCTOR – Review by Jennifer Merin

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The Conductor is documentary filmmaker Bernadette Wegenstein’s joyful biodoc about Marin Alsop, the first female conductor to direct a major American symphony orchestra.

Marin Alsop is currently the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as well as chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Filmmaker Bernadette Wegenstein hails from Vienna, but now resides in Baltimore.

Using a wealth of archival and recently recorded footage with Marin Alsop’s on camera interviews and her voice over narration, Wegenstein follows the extraordinarily gifted, amazingly persistent, dramatically expressive and utterly charming maestra from her childhood in a musical household through her studies at Yale, her days as a violinist in a swing band, her education at Julliard and tutelage under the legendary Leonard Bernstein to her current status as one of the few and arguably the most highly regarded and sought after women wielding batons in the world’s classical music realm.

As the doc reveals, Alsop is also a master of giving back As such, she has brought enlightening music education to underprivileged children around the globe and guided other women conductors to successfully take the podium. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).