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October 8, 2010

My picks for your weekend classical music fix

People occasional say to me that I need to clone myself.

I figure one of me is trouble enough (just ask my other half), but the thought does seem enticing whenever I'm spoiled for choice facing well-worth-checking-out performances scheduled on the same day, more or less at the same time.

Here comes another such occasion.

On Sunday afternoon, two events in Towson look awfully good. I recommend them both and leave it you to settle on just one.

Music in the Great Hall opens its season at 3 p.m. Sunday at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church with the fusion of three fine instrumentalists: clarinetist Anthony McGill, who holds a principal chair in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and teaches at Peabody; cellist Amit Peled, who has a busy concert career and also teaches at Peabody; and pianist Lura Johnson, who frequently has keyboard duty in Baltimore Symphony concerts and collaborates regularly with individual members of the orchestra in recitals and chamber music gigs.

The program includes


the Clarinet Trio by Brahms, the Cello Sonata by Chopin and more.

At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Pro Musica Rara opens its season at Towson University's Center for the Arts with a nod to Robert Schumann's bicentennial.

Pro Musica specializes in period instrument performances, which automatically makes the program interesting. The inclusion of Schumann's Piano Quartet makes it all the more notable -- at least to me, since I consider the slow movement from that quartet to be one of the most beautiful creations in all of music (so I'm prone to superlatives -- what's it to ya?).

The players are among Pro Musica's finest: fortepianist Edmund Battersby, a busy concert artist and longtime faculty member at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music; violinist Cynthia Roberts, a frequent concertmaster for leading period instrument ensembles, including Apollo's Fire; violist Sharon Pineo Myer, a 30-year-plus veteran of the BSO and Pro Musica; and cellist Allen Whear, Pro Musica's artistic director, who is also associate principal cellist of the noted Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

Rounding out the program will be additional works by Schumann and his wife, Clara, not to mention their mutual friend Brahms. Some Mendelssohn, too.


Posted by Tim Smith at 1:17 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Classical, Clef Notes

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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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