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December 6, 2010

Now is the time for all Marin Alsop fans to smack down the competition

Hey, I know it may sound silly to those of you past the age of 16, but another "Celebrity Smackdown" has begun here at the august Sun. And, just like last year, Marin Alsop, the kinetic and innovative music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, is in the running, so attention must be paid.

As a bona fide celebrity here, Alsop doesn't get any say in this, of course. Our cyber planners choose Maryland celebs to throw into the fray, randomly select the pairings to kick off the contest, and then gleefully wait to see who's still standing when the dust settles.

(If you were to argue that this whole thing means absolutely nothing, I wouldn't mount much of a rebuttal, but it sure got a lot of people fired up and mouse-clicking away last year. I imagine it will do the same again.)

You may recall that Alsop came in second last year, which was pretty cool, considering all the sports and TV personalities the conductor was up against as the contest advanced. This year, the first round pits Alsop against  

Bryan Voltaggio, the Frederick-based restaurateur who was a big deal on "Top Chef."

So Round One is shaping up as a battle between the musical and culinary arts.

You only have until Wednesday to smack down one of these celebrities -- well, that's such a harsh word. Let's just say, you need to decide soon which celeb to advance, and which to gently let down. (The severe humiliation for the loser will fade in time, I'm sure.) 

So get your mouses ready, rush to the Celebrity Smackdown page and start voting like the crazed classical fan you are.


Posted by Tim Smith at 9:02 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: BSO, 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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