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May 14, 2009

Opus Nine to make Baltimore debut on Saturday

You've got to admire an ensemble that is "dedicated to approaching the most challenging and exciting concert repertoire with new ideas, dramatic modern contrasts, and passionate exuberance." Not to mention one that is "masterfully trained, prodigious, and ethnically diverse." And whose members are all "under the age of thirty and fresh from the heat of the top academies in America." And which says that you should "expect the unexpected, expect more from a thrilling NEW ERA in classical performance!"

Welcome to Opus Nine, which ...

makes its Baltimore debut on Saturday at Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church. A Philadelphia debut will be on Friday, New York on Sunday. Players come from Peabody, Juilliard, San Francisco Conservatory, et al.  

With a core of 16 -- strings, winds, piano and vocalists -- Opus Nine offers a good example of how music students and recent conservatory grads are making their own way, creating their own opportunities in a world where jobs are not exactly plentiful. (Remind me to find out why a 16-member group is called Opus Nine.)

The attractive Baltimore program offers a flute quartet by Mozart, Schubert's The Shepherd on the Rock, songs by Ravel and H.T. Burleigh, Mendelssohn's Octet, and more.

Posted by Tim Smith at 10:00 AM | | Comments (4)


My guess: Schönberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op.9. Let me dig out the score here... Yup! 15 players and a conductor. I actually like this work. (Depends on who plays it, however. Favourite recording: Gielen, Brendel, & Baden-Baden on Philips. Tight, lively performance!)


Tim –

The Co-Founder of Opus Nine, Alysia Lee, is a Baltimore native and a 1999 graduate of Carver Center for Arts and Technology.

The concert was outstanding.

Thanks for the report. I hope the group will be back soon. I love the kind of diverse programming they can offer.TIM

Dear Mr. Smith, on behalf of Opus Nine, I thank you for covering our story! My name is Robin and I am one of two Opus Nine violists. I was personally moved to have had the performance just blocks away from my alma mater, The Peabody! We are truly grateful to have had such an exciting first showing and warm public reception in Charm City. (Thank you for your positive comments, Mr. Joe Freed!) We are already in the process of planning our next season! Stay tuned!

Looking forward to it.TIM

Not a comment, a question for Mr. Ear-to-the-Ground. Any news on the Alsop contract?

Good question. Haven't been able to get info yet, but I'm still trying.ETTG

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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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