« Amy Briggs brilliant in tough American piano music | Main | Cleveland critic amends suit against Plain Dealer »

January 28, 2009

Peabody violinist showcased in Brahms concerto

Netanel Draiblate violinistLast night, Peabody Conservatory's relatively intimate Griswold Hall provided a showcase for violinist Netanel Draiblate, who tackled the noble Violin Concerto by Brahms with an orchestra of fellow students. Draiblate has generated a good deal of local attention while at Peabody, and he already has management, a key step in establishing a career.

It was fun hearing the Brahms played in such a compact space with a full orchestra -- imagine cranking up your home sound system to neighbors-calling-the-police levels, and you'll have an idea what the aural experience was like. It may not have been the best condition for the violinist to work in -- he seemed to be pushing his tone at times to be heard over the lively student orchestra -- but it was certainly easy to appreciate Draiblate's talent for passionate musical communication. There was an intensity in his phrasing from the start, a sense of digging into the most soulful elements of Brahms. His handling of the hefty virtuoso side of the score, especially in the cadenza, was not always effortless or spot-on, and the violinist occasionally strayed rhythmically. But this was, on balance, an admirable statement of talent and potential.

The same could be said for conductor Vladimir Kulenovic, who is completing his graduate studies at Peabody. He revealed more than a grasp of the notes, effectively shaping the orchestral side of the concerto. He also led a bold account of Beethoven's Egmont Overture to start the evening. The ensemble, put together for the occasion, encountered some rough patches, but got the job done with a lot of spirit and character.

PHOTO courtesy of

Posted by Tim Smith at 2:50 PM | | Comments (1)


Couldn't agree with you more, Tim. It was a wonderful evening, despite the icey streets outside. I found the sound akin to being a part of the orchestra, something I've never experienced, being an amateur pianist. And the spirit and talent in the room reminded me how important now more than ever before for all of us to reach deeply into our pockets to support these young musicians in their blossoming careers at the most difficult of economic times. Thanks for being there and for your great review.

Thanks for commenting.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog

Baltimore Sun coverage
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop
Famous faces in classical music
Sign up for FREE entertainment alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Most Recent Comments
Stay connected