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August 6, 2009

Yefim Bronfman to be a judge on Food Network's 'Iron Chef America'

Yefim Bronfman, the powerhouse pianist, has a taste for fine food as well as great music. He's the first classical musician to serve as a judge on the Food Network's competition show, Iron Chef America. The broadcast is slated for Sunday (Aug. 9). Bronfman, described as a connoisseur of food and wine and a big fan of the network, got to judge a contest between two chefs using "a top-secret ingredient."

A couple months ago, Bronfman gave a fiery account of Rachmaninoff's Third with the Baltimore Symphony; the memory of that performance still lingers. Next week, he heads to Tanglewood, then off to Europe for more concerts.

In honor of Bronfman's foodie debut this weekend, here's ...

an appetizing sample of his work as a pianistic gourmet, playing the heck out of the brilliant, eventful concerto written for him (and here conducted) by Esa-Pekka Salonen: 


Posted by Tim Smith at 6:24 AM | | Comments (2)


This is just too awesome for words--classical music publicity and food combined? I think I've died and gone to heaven. In all seriousness though, Bronfman's appearance on a popular show will be very good for the classical music industry in general. For me, this is right up there with Placido Domingo's appearances on Sesame Street and The Simpsons.

I would have missed this item if not for your post. THANKS!

Aw, shucks. TIM

I remember your review from about 2 months ago -- glad to know the big guy made such a good, lasting impression. He definitely sticks with you! (I recall the Beethoven 1st piano concerto in Morgantown with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra -- man, did he ever make that piece sound brand new and shiny!)

No surprise, then, that he's a true epicure! I'm a big guy just like him (minus the phenomenal keyboard technique), and we definitely know our food and drink. (Though not to excess!) May he become the Piers or Simon of "Iron Chef America!" (Who am I kidding -- even on a bad day, he'd outclass either of those guys).

Oh, speaking of Placido, I'd have to give a nod to his duet with John Denver, "Perhaps Love," as a great meetings-of-worlds. I have a deep love for both men and their work, so this song pulls particularly at my heartstrings, even if the voices match an apple to a watermelon. I saw Domingo sing it with Villazón on PBS not too long ago (much better balance) -- thanks to Michelle for reminding me of this!

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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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