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February 23, 2009

Mahler's valedictory Ninth Symphony to be performed at Peabody

This turns out to be the season of Mahler's Ninth around here.

Hajime Teri Murai, the Peabody Conservatory's music director of orchestras, challenges the students with a Mahler symphony just about every year, and challenges don't get much tougher than No. 9 — or more rewarding (technically, mentally, emotionally). Murai last conducted the Ninth at the school in 2001; he returns to the autumnal score this week with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra. Judging by Murai's affinity for the composer, and the caliber of the students I've heard in the Peabody Symphony this year, it ought to be an effective performance. The concert is at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are a bargain: $5 to $15.

Unexpectedly, audiences will have a rare opportunity to delve into the profound issues of Mahler's Ninth twice in two months. Marin Alsop was to have led the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the composer's Sixth, but the extra musicians it required caused second thoughts in these tough times, and the Ninth was substituted. Performances will be in early April.

Posted by Tim Smith at 3:06 PM | | Comments (0)

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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.
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