"Follow the grain in your own wood."
-- Howard Thurman in To Love and Be Loved by Sam Keen
Marin Alsop was born the only child of a cellist and a violinist. She grew up playing the violin. Hearing and seeing one of Leonard Bernstein's concerts in the 1960s she set her sights, courage, talent and energy on becoming a conductor.
But the world of classical music was dominated and controlled by men whose manifold prejudices against women becoming conductors included the ludicrous myth that they lacked both the physical and emotional energy for the task. Women-hating men also worried about concert goers being distracted by the bodies of women conductors.
Despite one roadblock after another, including being rejected by the Julliard School in 2007, Marin was named to lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, becoming the first woman ever appointed as musical director of a major U.S. orchestra. And that is just the beginning. She also became the conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra in Brazil and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
As a guest conductor, she has traveled the world. But in interviews, she also talks about her teaching and mentoring. She has helped paved the way for other women conductors as well as young people from poor neighborhoods given a chance to play music together.
Bernadette Wegenstein's direction of this biodrama is propelled by a keen appreciation of Marin Alsop's charismatic presence, her personal resilience, and her deep love of classical music. In archival footage, we see her interacting with Bernstein, who became her mentor. Best of all, the filmmaker hails this hard-working visionary's spiritual affirmation that "Conducting is connecting."