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October 19, 2009

Classical music shows strength in Sun's Celebrity Smackdown

Take that, sports fans.

In the Sun's breathlessly anticipated Celebrity Smackdown, two of Baltimore's classical music movers-'n'-shakers have advanced to round two, in each case beating out local sports figures. (The ballot pairings were randomly selected, I'm assured.)

Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, bested WJZ sports director Mark Viviano. And Tom Hall, music director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, outpaced Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti (I'm sure the team's record so far this season has absolutely nothing to do with that).

Feel free to jump into the voting, classical music lovers, and do your part for the triumph of elitist culture. (This will also help distract you while I put together more interesting blog posts.)

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:38 AM | | Comments (1)


Bravo Tim for cheering the classicals! And a dignified final round presence for Marin Alsop. the ultimate loss is alas not surprising, given the kind of crowd that this kind of contest attracts.

To tell the truth, I'm amazed a classical figure could get past the first round. Could we have the audacity to hope that this is a good sign for the future of our culture? I guess not, but, still...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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