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November 8, 2010

Baltimore-born opera singer Matthew Morris organizes benefit for Trevor Project

Matthew Morris is a talented young Baltimorean who graduated from the Gilman School (class of 2003)and moved on to New York, where he earned a degree in voice from the Julliard School. He could be forgiven for concentrating solely on his career, which seems to be developing very nicely.

His credits include roles in in a premiere by ultra-hip composer Missy Mazzoli earlier this year at Bard College and in a Sante Fe Opera production of a work by Gluck last year while a member of that company's apprentice program. These days, Morris can be found in Paris, where he is singing Papageno in Peter Brook's adaptation of Mozart's "Magic Flute," which will go on a tour that includes New York next summer. In his spare time, the singer is also finishing up work on his master's degree at Bard College Conservatory, studying with stellar soprano Dawn Upshaw.

So, like I said, if Morris wanted to be a typically self-absorbed artist, who could blame him? But he found the time to produce a most worthy benefit concert for the Trevor Project, the national organization devoted to helping prevent suicides by gay teens. That cause has become more pressing than ever, in light of the recent deaths of several young men who had been bullied or harassed in one way or another and chose to end their lives.

The "You Are Not Alone" benefit on Nov. 22nd at St. Paul the Apostle Church (W. 60th and Columbus) will feature

the great singer/actress Betty Buckley, the remarkable composer Ricky Ian Gordon and many others.  

In an email from Morris, he says:

I know not everyone from Baltimore can attend, but I believe two things could happen:

1) People can donate online in the form of sponsoring a ticket for an LGBTQ youth. I hope the kids who need to see this community gathering to support them will be in attendance and I am donating tickets to the LGBTQ centers in New York City to assure that will happen.

2) I know from personal experience that reading about an event like this online or in the paper from afar a kid can think "Hey, there are other people like me. Some people out there support me." And that can make all the difference. If it does so for one kid in Baltimore or any where else, I think the concert will be a success.

Morris, who sang in the Children's Chorus of Maryland when he was growing up and returned to Gilman as its middle school music director for a year in between his college and graduate studies, obviously has what it takes to be not just an artist, but a mensch. And the Trevor Project could not be a more worthy project.

I hate the fact that kids in 2010 are still subject to the abuse of neanderthals, but I am grateful that help and hope is out there. And I couldn't be more impressed by what Matthew Morris is doing on behalf of that effort with this "You Are Not Alone concert."


Posted by Tim Smith at 9:45 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Clef Notes, Drama Queens


Matthew Morris:

I applaud your efforts and performance whenever you are on the performing stage. You were a consummate performer, and friend in song (Glee Club). As an alum of the illustrious Gilman Class of 2003, I say thank you and good luck in all of your endeavors.

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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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