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September 2, 2010

Pianist Joel Fan to launch 24th season of Community Concerts at Second

Joel FanThe music season will be here in a flash. The weekend after Labor Day will see the BSO presenting opening gala; the Peabody Conservatory launching its concert series with a pair of recitals; Washington National Opera opening its production of "A Masked Ball," and more. By the 19th, things will really be in full swing.

On that Sunday afternoon, Community Concerts at Second (as in Second Presbyterian Church) will kick off its 24th season of performances with a recital by Joel Fan. This extraordinary pianist studied with Leon Fleisher at Peabody, where he earned his master's degree, and has quickly established a name for himself in the business, especially in the area of contemporary music.

I was lucky to hear Fan play a hefty program of Carter, Bolcom and Kirchner with startling command last December at An die Musik (I do mean lucky -- given the ever so modest turnout, it's remarkable that he didn't cancel), and I hope to catch the pianist's return to the area.

For his Community Concerts at Second appearance, he's chosen a wide range of repertoire. There will be sonatas by Beethoven (Op. 110), Chopin ("Funeral March") and Scriabin, along with works much less exposed works around here by the likes of

Scriabin, Schoenberg, Margaret Bonds, Ernesto Nazareth, Villa-Lobos and Dia Succari -- my kind of program.

The rest of the Community Concerts season looks as varied and appealing as ever. The Aspen String Trio, Monument Piano Trio and Brass Roots Trio (an unusual fusion of brass instruments, piano and voice) are on the lineup. Pianist Lura Johnson, BSO concertmaster Jonathan Carney and former BSO principal cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn (now principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony) will collaborate on a program.

In addition to the Sunday afternoon concerts, there will again be the Chamber Music by Candlelight series on Sunday evenings featuring members of the BSO in all sorts of instrumental combinations. And, as usual, those programs will cover a lot of territory -- from Mozart, Mendelssohn and Brahms to Szymanowski, Honegger, Harbison,Takemitsu and Gubaidulina.

One new thing this season will be the performance space. While renovations are being made in the sanctuary of Second Presbyterian, concerts will be held in a hall at the church.

Posted by Tim Smith at 10:29 AM | | 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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