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May 16, 2010

Baltimore Symphony's OrchKids program gets a shout-out on '60 Minutes'

Just saw tonight's "60 Minutes" segment about hotshot conductor Gustavo Dudamel and his activities in Southern California as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. But all the talk about El sistema, the compelling education program in Venezuela that helped Dudamel as a kid and that he has begun emulating in L.A., provided a perfect excuse to look at what's happening along these lines elsewhere around the country.

And that led right to a West Baltimore neighborhood (described in less than flattering terms, of course, and filmed back in the dead of winter), where the BSO's OrchKids program got a nice shout out. I'm glad this venture was alloted such valuable exposure on such a highly-watched show.

There was a decent amount of air time for BSO music director Marin Alsop, commenting on how the project can changing kids' lives, and good shots of the program's main administrator, Dan Trahey, and some of the teachers working with students. (It would be cool if Dudamel, who will be in DC Monday with the LA Phil, could zip up here and get a look at OrchKids himself.)

The effort to get music back into schools to start substantive training at an early age couldn't be more valuable or more necessary. Every step taken in any part of the country is worthy cheering.


Posted by Tim Smith at 8:01 PM | | Comments (1)


watch it, loved it.
Kids love music. Adults love music. It is, after all, a universal language we all understand.

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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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