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April 28, 2011

Another weekend, spoiled for musical choice

As I took a break from eating bonbons during the final days of my exile (you may recall that I've been burning off five -- count 'em, five -- weeks of use-or-lose vacation time), I noticed that this weekend presents another large assortment of musical activity.

In addition to the usual suspects (there are noteworthy presentations from the BSO, NSO, Shriver Hall, An die Musik, Peabody etc.), I thought a few other things are worth worth a mention in case they might  otherwise slip beneath your radar.

The Baltimore Classical Guitar Society has a cool presentation at 8 p.m. Saturday at Towson University's Center for the Arts -- the Alturas Duo, a unique combination of instruments (guitar, charango, viola) and repertoire (classical and South American).

Also on Saturday, for those seeking something way different, there's the second annual "Vigil" -- an all-night, outdoor music festival at MICA's Cohen Plaza organized by cool dude Erik Spangler. Between 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday, dozens of performances, some of them improvised, will take place (the volume gets lowered at 10). Participants include the Purple City Players, composer Judah Adashi, Kid EXP, Soul Cannon, and many more. Video art will be projected on the side of the Brown Center. It's all free.

The Sunday lineup includes a recital by ...

one of the leading organists of the day, Paul Jacobs, head of the organ department at Juilliard. He'll perform works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Liszt and Boulanger in this performance at 3 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.

The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, directed by Tom Hall, will be at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium for a concert at 5 p.m. Sunday. The program offers the local premieres of Eric Whitacre’s "Five Hebrew Lovesongs" and Gwyneth Walker’s "Dreams and Dances" (a work inspired by former Maryland poet-laureate Lucille Clifton). There's also room for a Handel’s "Dixit Dominus."

Speaking of choral music, the Towson University Chorale and McDonogh School Concert Choir will combine forces in a program presented by Community Concerts at Second -- but not at Second (Presbyterian). This event takes place at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Church of the Redeemer. The program includes works by such diverse composers as Vincent Persichetti, Morten Lauridsen and Stephen Sondheim.

One more Sunday attraction. Promising young conductor Lee Mills is completing his Graduate Performance Diploma at the Peabody Conservatory in high style -- leading a concert featuring Bernstein's "Candide" Overture, Wagner's "Wessendonck Lieder" (with soprano Amber Schwarzrock), and Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3 (with organist Chris Keenan).

The orchestra for the event is comprised of Peabody students. (Earlier this season, Mills managed to bring together enough of his fellow students to enable him to conduct Beethoven's Ninth; he's clearly got the gift of persuasion.)

The public is invited at no charge to Sunday's concert, which is  at 3 p.m. in Peabody's Griswold Hall.


Posted by Tim Smith at 1:46 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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