Last year, Alondra de La Parra began her term as Music Director of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO), making her both the first ever Music Director of an Australian orchestra and the first women to be appointed as the principal conductor of an Australian orchestra.

“It’s such a multi-faceted responsibility that there is plenty about it to enjoy,” says Alondra. “The QSO is a group of incredibly talented individuals and when we are all on stage, focused, and giving the best of ourselves, it’s a very special moment.” Alondra has gained widespread attention for her vibrant performances and commitment to Latin American composers. She frequently works with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Bamberg Symphony and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Alondra takes on an administrative role within the QSO, working with donors and the board while creating plans and strategising for QSO’s future.  But despite the milestone of her term as first female music director, she takes the responsibility in her stride. “I’m just thinking about what I have to do and how I can accomplish it and deliver it,” she said. “I think it’s definitely important that there are equal opportunities for women. I don’t think we have arrived [at equality] yet, as an industry, but it’s a good, strong step.”

Alondra names her conducting heroes as Carlos Kleiber and Leonard Berstein, whose compositions and music she draws inspiration from. “At the moment I’m studying Mahler 3rd which we are performing on November 24 at the Concert Hall in Brisbane,” she explains. “I spend time reading about their lives and what was going on in their minds when they composed the music because it gives a lot of substance as to why the music is the way it is. Mahler is definitely an inspiration to me because he was not only a composer but a philosopher.”

During her time as director, Alondra has conducted Mahler 2nd, Beethoven 3rd and Beethoven 7th.. Next year’s line up features more of her favourite music. “Mahler 4th and the beautiful Beethoven 4th piano concerto with Paul Lewis are going to be great. It’s one of my favourite pieces and he plays it amazingly. Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony is also one of my favourites and is going to be the closing for next year.”

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