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January 28, 2010

Attention, campers! BSO to open summer academy for amateur musicians

Elsewhere in today's Sun you'll find my story about the Baltimore Symphony's latest outreach project, the BSO Academy.

Adult amateur musicians are invited to apply for the week-long, intensive session starting June 13, working with BSO players and music director Marin Alsop, who will conduct a public concert featuring all of the participants on June 18 in

Respighi's "Pines of Rome" and Strauss' "Also sprach Zarathustra." (That program will also feature the BSO on its own; the musicians lobbied for a work they have long wanted to perform, Prokofiev's striking "Scythian Suite.")

It sounds like a cool venture, one that sparks up a traditional dry part of the season, the time right after the subscription concerts finish and before the Fourth of July start of light summer fare. It's not cheap for the campers. Tuition starts at $1,650; add-ons, such as private lessons and chamber music sessions, would drive the per-person cost considerably higher. (One potential applicant I talked to said she hoped the BSO would consider turning the tuition into a tax-deductible contribution, to make the cost go down a little more smoothly.)

Even so, for folks who used to play, or still trot out, musical instruments, folks who would like a taste of the professional symphonic world and a chance to rub shoulders with first-class players and one of today's brightest conducting stars, this should be a rewarding experience.

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:57 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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