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December 3, 2010

Baltimore's Mobtown Modern receives national award for adventurous programming

As local folks with willing ears know well, Mobtown Modern, the ensemble launched a few years ago under the auspices of the Contemporary Museum, showcases a remarkable range of new music. People outside Baltimore have heard about it, too.

The Mobtown Modern concert series has received an Award for Adventurous Programming from

Chamber Music America and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) -- one of five new music presenters in the country so honored this year. The award will be given out at the 33rd annual Chamber Music America National Conference next month in New York.

Judges for the programming award single out professional ensembles and presenters for programming music composed in the past 25 years and attracting new audiences.

In a statement released Friday morning, Brian Sacawa, curator and co-founder of Mobtown Modern, said: "Receiving this national recognition is an affirmation that we have built a truly outstanding musical voice for the Contemporary Museum. I am particularly excited for the attention this award will bring to Baltimore as a vital center for cutting-edge contemporary music."

Mobtown's next presentation, on Tuesday at the Metro Gallery, is typically adventurous. Composer/vocalist Ken Ueno will mark his 40th year with a retrospective of his career. Selections range from a 1998 piece called "Yellow 632," for three percussionists with Big Bird toys (that's got to be some of the most unusual instrumentation ever), to his 2008 work "Reverse Swastikas Mark the Place of Buddhist Temples," for vocalist and live electronics.


Posted by Tim Smith at 11:24 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Clef Notes


Also in Maryland (but not in your coverage zone of Baltimore), the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at UMD won the award as well!

Thanks for the news. I love what the folks at that center are doing and I'm delighted they were recognized. TIM

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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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