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February 15, 2010

Baltimore Symphony's assistant conductor named music director of Memphis Symphony

Baltimore audiences have barely had a chance to get to know Mei-Ann Chen, the BSO's assistant conductor and League of American Orchestras Conducting Fellow, but she's well on the way toward a career. She has just been named music director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the fourth person to hold that title in the ensemble's 58-year history. She succeeds David Loebel and begins her tenure next fall. With the Baltimore Symphony, the Taiwan-born Chen has been primarily involved in conducting family concerts this season; she's half-way through a one year appointment at the BSO.

In Monday's press release, Paul Bert, head of the Memphis Symphony's music director selection committee, says: "After two years in the search process and hearing four wonderful candidates conduct this season, we are very pleased and excited that Mei-Ann Chen will be joining us. Mei-Ann has a great passion for music and the role it can play on the concert stage, in community engagement programs, and especially in our education system. She sees music as a celebration of life and something that can bring people from all backgrounds and age groups together to share great music. We feel very fortunate that we are able to have Mei-Ann, a true rising star, lead our orchestra in the coming years."

Posted by Tim Smith at 1:50 PM | | 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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