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January 26, 2010

This week's should-hear musical events

A glance at the music calendar in Baltimore reveals enticing chamber-size programs performed by excellent ensembles this week, especially over the next couple of days.

On Tuesday evening at An die Musik, the Evolution Contemporary Music Series goes where few local organizations have dared go before -- contemporary Finland. Works by two very big names on the composer front, Kaija Saariaho and Magnus Lindberg, will be performed, along with music by Esa-Pekka Salonen, better known as a conductor, but a very persuasive composer as well. Among the performers: pianists Lura Johnson and Kenneth Osowski, percussionists Kelsey Tamayo, soprano Andrea Edith Moore, clarinetist Elisabeth Stimpert, and harpist Jacqueline Pollauf. (I wouldn't miss this one if I didn't have a good excuse -- I'll be participating on a panel discussion at the Loyola/Notre Dame Library about what the arts in Baltimore might look like in 2020. After that, I may have to check myself into a depression clinic.)

Wednesday pits two worthy chamber music events against each other. At Peabody's Friedberg Hall, the

Peabody Trio will serve up a gem by Mendelssohn and then, joined by another of the conservatory's faculty artists, clarinetist Anthony McGill, will perform one of the most profound and absorbing works of 20th century music: Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time." A few blocks away, the Aspen Ensemble will launch its residency at the University of Baltimore with works by Beethoven, Brahms and Martinu. You can read more about this in my Arts Scene column in Tuesday's Sun.

And one more chamber music evening worth noting -- the Poulenc Trio plays works by its brilliant namesake on Saturday at An die Musik.   


Posted by Tim Smith at 9:58 AM | | Comments (3)


Oh, man! I would cry at missing that Finnish composer program too!!

Regarding that picture of the Peabody Trio: did they lose a bet? (Not to mention their shoes???) And Seth can't be terribly comfortable...

Better late than never---I want to put in a pitch for the exquisite UB venue. I was there to hear Gabriella Montero and it was one of the most memorable concerts I have attended. The Steinway was absolutely gorgeous in tone. The concert hall itself is wonderfully intimate with fantastic acoustics. Montero was amazing. The UB hall really is a jewel in the classical music scene of Baltimore.

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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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