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January 31, 2011

A salute to Philip Glass on his 74th birthday

There have been so many notable obits in music the past few days -- Milton Babbitt, Margaret Price, John Barry -- that I thought it would be worth remembering someone who's still very much with us: Philip Glass. He marks his 74th birthday on Jan. 31.

I hope the celebrations surrounding his 75th next year will include lots of performances in his native Baltimore. I still think we don't hear enough of his music here, although Marin Alsop has sure been helping make up for the years of local neglect since becoming music director of the Baltimore Symphony (last month's presentation of "Icarus at the Edge of Time" was the most recent example).

Alsop mentioned to me that she is hoping to get a project going with the composer, a project that would bring him back to his hometown for a little bit. That would be cool.

Meanwhile, here's my salute to his 74th birthday -- one of my favorite Glass moments, the slow movement from his

Violin Concerto No. 1. This is minimalism at its most reflective and subtly seductive (to my ears, at least).

Posted by Tim Smith at 2:32 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: 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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