« Music we've been missing (Part 10): Sibelius | Main | Greatest (really worst) classic CD covers »

September 16, 2009

Struggling Charlotte Symphony gets boost from two $1 million gifts

Maybe the economy really is turning around.

Two donors gave $1 million each to the Charlotte Symphony in North Carolina, an unprecedented act of philanthropy to the orchestra, reports my colleague Steve Brown.

The ensemble has been hampered by deficits for the past seven years and is not exactly out of the woods yet, but seeing such a generous response in these tough times has to be giving everyone a big lift down there.

My favorite quote in this story comes from Jane McColl, who, with husband Hugh, made one of the $1 million donations:

“The Charlotte Symphony is the sound of the city. It is our hope that everyone works together to support this important institution for our region.”

That's precisely the attitude that can save arts in trouble anywhere. It has to be a matter of civic pride and a firm belief in cultural values. Coming the same week as the startling $10 million gift to the New York Philharmonic to underwrite a composer in residence and create a new music award, the $2 million gesture in Charlotte gives one a little more hope.

Now, if we could only light a fire under all the moneyed folk in the Baltimore area -- and you know who you are -- we could be taking some big steps forward here, too.

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:38 AM | | Comments (0)

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

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.
View the Artsmash blog

Baltimore Sun coverage
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop
Famous faces in classical music
Sign up for FREE entertainment alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Most Recent Comments
Stay connected