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July 31, 2009

Baltimore Symphony continues to feel recession's grip

The news of more pay cuts and furloughs at the Baltimore Symphony, and a looming deficit after a couple of hard-won in-the-black years, provides another depressing reminder of how destructive this recession is for the arts. You can read more about the situation in my article in Friday's paper.

One thing that bears much repeating: This struggle at the BSO could not have been so calmly and carefully dealt with a few years ago under previous management. There's a level of cooperation and trust between orchestra and administration that hasn't been seen in that organization for quite a while. Morale can't be great over there now, especially among the musicians, but there's every indication that the BSO is holding together, artistically and institutionally. And that bodes well for the orchestra's future.   

As always, feel free to share your thoughts and reactions here.

Posted by Tim Smith at 6:33 AM | | Comments (1)


When I read about this 2nd give-back by the musicians, I was saddened and impressed at the same time. We're all hit hard by the current economy and the arts are usually an easy and early victim.

Due to this 2nd over-generous concession by the symphony players, I was moved to stretch my own budget and increase my previous donation to match their dedication to this fine orchestra. I can only hope others are in a position to do the same. And I hope they realize how much they and their contributions are appreciated by many of us in the audience in keeping the orchestra going and performing at such a high level despite their situation.

Thanks for commenting. The arts need more patrons as generous and sensitive as you. TIM

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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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