Alsop was recently named a winner of a MacArthur "genius" fellowship. In July, she was appointed music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra after a tense period in which BSO musicians expressed dismay over the orchestra's choice.
In the Newsweek article, Alsop talks about her musical childhood, growing up with a concertmaster father and cellist mother (both played with the New York City Ballet). A visit to one of Leonard Bernstein's young people's concerts convinced Alsop, then nine years old, that she wanted to be a conductor.
About being a female conductor, Alsop said, "Conducting's all body language. When a woman makes a gesture, the same gesture as a man, it's interpreted entirely differently. The thing I struggled with the most was getting a big sound from the brass because you really have to be strong. But if you're too strong, you're a b-i-t-c-h."
Of the recent BSO dispute, Alsop said that she was surprised by the musicians' opposition to her appointment. "A small group of people probably felt very disenfranchised," she said "I have a responsibility to try to heal this orchestra and be a real champion for these musicians."
She added, however, that she "didn't go into conducting to win a popularity contest."
Other women featured in the Newsweek package include television personality Oprah Winfrey, designer Vera Wang, and current undersecretary of state for public diplomacy (and former counselor to President George W. Bush) Karen Hughes.