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June 24, 2010

Philip Glass among the recipients of the 2010 NEA Opera Awards

Philip Glass, the extraordinary, Baltimore-born composer who helped to define and popularize the reiterative style dubbed minimalism, is one of four recipients of the 2010 NEA Opera Honors.

Glass has left a sizable mark on the history of contemporary opera with such epic works as "Einstein on the Beach," "Satyagraha"  (see excerpt below) and "Akhnaten."

Also being honored for "their significant lifetime contributions to American opera" are Martina Arroyo, a soprano whose rich voice and expressive intensity earned her a distinguished career and who established a foundation for the training of young singers; David DiChiera, whose guidance as general director of the Michigan Opera Theatre put that company on the national map; and Eve Queler, music director of the adventurous Opera Orchestra of New York.

The Opera Honors were launched three years ago by the National Endowment for the Arts. Previous recipients of the $25,000 award include singers Leontyne Price and Marilyn Horne, composers John Adams and Carlisle Floyd, and conductors James Levine and Julius Rudel. The $25,000 award is the highest national honor recognizing contributions to opera.

The 2010 awards ceremony, open to the public, will take place on Oct. 22 at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Information on free tickets will be made available online on Sept. 20 at


Posted by Tim Smith at 8:00 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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