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August 26, 2010

Mobtown Modern's 2010-11 season to include BSO collaborations, eclectic repertoire

Mobtown Modern, Baltimore’s most aggressive champion of contemporary music (I mean that in the best possible way), has devised a startling lineup for the 2010-11 season.

The big news is that Mobtown will team up with the Baltimore Symphony for some music-making. BSO music director Marin Alsop has been looking around for ways to connect with the edgier things going in the city and is always open to collaborations; Mobtown’s curator Brian Sacawa has been seeking ways to spread his organization’s wings – so this looks like a natural and very promising match-up.

I’ve liked Mobtown’s approach and its programming from the start a few years ago. The new season looks like the most ambitious and tempting yet, with a hearty helping of Ligeti, including “Poeme Symphonique” for 100 metronomes, to launch the 10-concert series on Sept. 14, and a big work by Golijov – “Ayre” from 2004 -- to wrap things up on June 1. The latter event is one of two presentations involving BSO players; the first, on Jan. 12, will be devoted to the 1981 piece “Glassworks” by Baltimore’s own Philip Glass.

This season finds Mobtown moving uptown again. The series started out based at the Contemporary Museum, which remains the organization’s parent, then headed a few blocks north to Metro Gallery; it now will migrate a few more blocks

to take up residence at the Windup Space.

Other highlights of the Mobtown schedule: music by much-in-the-limelight young composer Nico Muhly; “chamber rock” from Missy Mazzoli and her ensemble, Victoire, and violist Nadia Sirota; music theater by Corey Dargel; an evening of Ken Ueno’s distinctive work; a program of pieces by John Cage, Earle Brown and others that use non-traditional notation; a concert by the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots; and a performance of the multiple genre-spanning “O Death” by Peabody faculty member Oscar Bettison.

Here's a sample of Victoire performing Missy Mazzoli's "A Song for Arthur Russell," which will be featured on ensemble's Mobtown Modern concert Oct. 13:


Posted by Tim Smith at 9:45 AM | | Comments (1)


Really superb series indeed, Tim. With just a little bit of smarts and bravery, this kind of partnership could be happening all over the US. And thanks for posting the Victoire video...they're superb.

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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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