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December 4, 2009

Peabody students form Be Orchestra to "be involved"; will perform in a jail

A new ensemble called the Be Orchestra -- as in "be involved" and "be a part," artistic director Osvaldo Mendoza says -- has been formed by Peabody students and will debut Dec. 12 inside the Baltimore City Correctional Center.

Performing for "people who do not normally go to a concert hall" (or, in this case, can't) is part of the mission for this orchestra of 30-40 players, all of them volunteering their time and talent. Mendoza, a grad student in composition at Peabody, says the orchestra is focused "on the future, on hope."

Plans call for monthly concerts during the spring semester. June Choi, a grad student in flute, is the organization's executive director.

Although the inaugural concert will be heard only by those behind bars, the public is invited to a repeat at noon Dec. 13 at St. Ignatius Church; admission is free.

The new orchestra's music director, Simeone Tartaglione, a recent recipient of a Peabody Graduate Performance Diploma in conducting, will share the podium with grad student Gemma New. The program includes Beethoven's "Egmont" Overture and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto (with Peter Kwan, a Peabody undergrad, as soloist). 

Posted by Tim Smith at 1:18 PM | | Comments (1)


This is just WONDERFUL! God bless them for doing this. Music has the power to change brain chemistry. It can change hearts and behavior. It can save souls. This is a very special, dear thing.

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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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