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March 18, 2011

Another pileup of musical events competing for your attention on Sunday

Why, oh why do they keep doing this?

I know there are only so many Sundays, and I know everyone thinks that Sunday afternoon is the favorite going-out time for classical music lovers, but it really does get awfully frustrating to find so many concerts scheduled at roughly the same time, weekend after weekend. At least you're not likely to go wrong no matter which option you choose this Sunday.

For those with a yen for adventure, head to the Windup Space for the newest new music group in the area: the League of the Unsound Sound (LotUS).

The ensemble features an impressive list of seasoned experimental music performers: Tim Feeney (Cornell University); Michael Formanek (Peabody Conservatory); Michael Harley (University of South Carolina, Alarm Will Sound); Courtney Orlando (Peabody Conservatory, Alarm Will Sound, Signal); David Smooke (Peabody Conservatory); Wendy Richman (I.C.E., Syracuse Symphony); and Shirley Yoo (Mercyhurst College).

There will be two performances on Sunday. The 3 p.m. concert includes world premieres by Steve Gorbos and Michael Boyd; works by Smooke and fellow Baltimore-based composer Ruby Fulton; and pieces by two eminent contemporary composers, Sofia Gubaidulina and Augusta Read Thomas. A second performance at 5 p.m. will feature improvisation, with help from extra local players. Sounds like a great addition to Baltimore's edgier music side.

At 3 p.m. at Towson Unitarian Universalist, the always inviting ...

Music in the Great Hall series presents Duo Transatlantique -- classical guitarists Benjamin Beirs and Maud Laforest. The duo typically features music by French and American composers;  this concert includes pieces by Cesar Franck and Scott Joplin, with the likes of Scarlatti and Piazzolla also in the mix.

And at 3:30 p.m. at Towson University, you'll find Pro Musica Rara presenting a cool program of string quartets -- cool because it balances works by two big 18th century names, Haydn and Boccherini, with a piece by Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the son of a French plantation owner and a slave on Guadeloupe. He earned the nickname "Mozart Noir" in pre-Revolution France for his prodigious musical gifts. He was a crack swordsman, too. (I've attached a sample of his work at the end of this post.)

The concert features the Pro Musica Rara Classical Quartet performing on period instruments: violinists Greg Mulligan and Ivan Stefanovic, violist Sharon Pineo Meyer, and cellist Allen Whear. As fans of Pro Musica know, the organization has taken great artistic strides with Whear at the helm. If you haven't checked them out recently, this program ought to make a great introduction.

Also at 3:30 on Sunday, at Second Presbyterian, the Monument Piano Trio -- violinist Igor Yuzefovich, cellist Dariusz Skoraczewski, and pianist Michael Sheppard -- will be presented by Community Concerts at Second in a rich program of Beethoven, Brahms and Shostakovich. This is one of the best ensembles to come out of Baltimore in the past decade, so any chance to hear these guys in action is welcome.

And now for that sample of the remarkable Chevalier d Saint-Georges:


Posted by Tim Smith at 4:00 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Clef Notes


So, which one should I go to??? Or should I go to the BSO concert tonight?

I can only lay out the choices. Go with your conscience Sunday; go with the BSO tonight.TIM

Also, the incomparable violinist Gil Shaham plays a rare recital of unaccompanied Bach (BWV 1004, 1005, & 1006) at 5:30 pm at Shriver Hall Concert Series.

How the heck did I forget to mention that? I was thinking mostly of the 3 o'clock hour, however, so that gives me just the slightest excuse. Still, I think I need a break. In fact, I'm going to take one, before I need a padded cell. TS

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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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