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June 20, 2009

Violinist David Garrett, latest crossover sensation, focus of special airing on MPT

Count on a new crossover sensation every year or so, and count on American audiences being introduced to same during pledge drives on PBS. David Garrett is the latest example.

The German-born fiddler was mentored by the extraordinary violinist Ida Haendel in his early years and earned some money modeling while studying at Juilliard (his rugged, dress-down looks continue to play a part in his popularity). His "Live from Berlin" concert is getting air play in the States this season, including at MPT, which will air it at ...

noon and 8 p.m. today (Saturday the 20th); also 10:30 p.m. today and noon Sunday (the 21st) on MPT2.

Garrett likes to mix classical, or at least light classical, with rock and pop covers in his concerts. Although I can't say I've been overwhelmed by what I've heard so far, it's easy to understand how Garrett would gain a following.

To give you a little taste of the live show, here's the promo for it, plus a more revealing performance in a traditional concet hall setting, without the light show and orchestral support. I have to say I like the fact that a young violinist in our day will even think about playing something as deliciously old-fashioned as Zigeunerweisen, so I give Garrett high marks just for programming it. I also think he's got the chops and a good deal of the style for it, too.



Posted by Tim Smith at 11:39 AM | | 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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