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March 8, 2011

A couple ways to get your modern music groove on this week

You're just itching to hear something new and cool, aren't you? Well, you're in luck this week -- two of Baltimore's most ambitious organizations are offering programs on successive nights.

Tuesday finds the Evolution Contemporary Music Series at An die Musik focusing on the solo instrument and chamber works of New York-based clarinetist and composer Derek Bermel. See below for a sampling of intriguing works that will be on the concert -- Bermel performing his clarinet piece “Thracian Sketches”; and a string sextet with violist Victoria Chiang, violinist Jennifer Herrera and others rehearsing Bermel's "Soul Garden" for the program.

Pianists Stephen Gosling and Lura Johnson and flutist Tara Helen O’Connor are among the other musicians participating in Tuesday's concert.

Wednesday brings another Mobtown Modern presentation at The Windup Space, this one featuring violinist Todd Reynolds and -- hold on --

a dozen robots. The mechanical instruments, including a GuitarBot, are the products of LEMUR (League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots), an innovative group that has widened the playing field for Pat Metheny and others.

In this concert, Reynolds will perform some music interactively with his robotic friends and also turn the stage over to them to play works he wrote for this event. At least on a Wednesday night in Baltimore in March, you can't get too much cooler than that, can you?


Posted by Tim Smith at 9:51 AM | | 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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