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September 14, 2009

New York Philharmonic gets $10 million for composer-in-residence, new works

Alan Gilbert's tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic is off to a great start. His inaugural night isn't until Wednesday, but today the orchestra announced an extraordinary vote of confidence in Gilbert -- a $10 million gift from Henry R. Kravis that will underwrite a composer-in-residence position at the Philharmonic and establish a $250,000 prize for new music.

The first resident composer (each term will be two years) is Magnus Lindberg, whose "Expo" will receive its world premiere on Wednesday. 

In these tough economic times, it's reassuring to know there are still folks around not just with deep pockets, but the willingness to spend it in support of contemporary music. (The new Kravis Prize of $250,000 will be given ever two years, starting in 2011, and will include a New York Philharmonic commission.)

The $10 million gift clearly signals strong support for Gilbert, who is expected to shake things up at the Philharmonic in many ways, following Lorin Maazel's basically conservative tenure. Gilbert's several appearances with the Baltimore Symphony back at the start of the decade revealed considerable talent, which has only intensified over the years. It's going to be an interesting time up there at Lincoln Center, and I hope to catch some of the action soon. 

Posted by Tim Smith at 11:50 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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