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July 26, 2011

Dariusz Skoraczewski appointed principal cellist of Baltimore Symphony

Dariusz Skoraczewski, whose lush tone, expressive style and solid technique have earned him admiration in a career that encompasses solo, chamber and orchestral music-making, has been named principal cellist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

During the past season, he played several BSO concerts in the principal chair, as did a few other finalists for the post.

Skoraczewski has been assistant principal with the BSO since 2001, a year after he joined the ensemble. His appointment to the top post was made by music director Marin Alsop and an audition committee.

The Warsaw-born cellist completed his studies at the Peabody Conservatory. In addition to his BSO work over the past decade, he has been a member of the excellent Monument Piano Trio, formerly artists-in-residence at the retail/concert venue An Die Musik.

Last year, Skoraczewski’s solo recording, "Cello Populus," on the Analog Arts label showcased his impressive command of challenging works by the likes of ...

George Crumb and Krzysztof Penderecki.

In a statement released Tuesday, Skoraczewski said: “It has  been an honor to perform with this fantastic orchestra over the past 11 years. Baltimore has become a beloved home for my family and me and I could not be happier about continuing with the BSO in this new role.”

Skoraczewski succeeds Ilya Finkelshteyn, who left the BSO to become principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony in 2009.

PHOTO (by Christian Colberg) COURTESY OF BSO

Posted by Tim Smith at 10:43 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: BSO, Clef Notes


Congratulations to Mr. Skoraczewski, but I'm curious. After Finkelshteyn left, Chang Woo Lee was always in the first chair and occasionally featured at performances. She seemed to be the front runner to 'move up', though I'm not familiar with these things. Was there an audition that she participated in (or not) and which was won by Mr. Skoraczewski? Or is she gone? I'm always curious about the inner workings of the orchestra.

As associate principal, she would normally return to the first chair for performances during a vacancy, except when candidates for the post were trying out. She's also the BSO's former principal. It would, I think, be unusual for someone to return to a previously held post. TIM

Principal Cellist Skoraczewski masterfully performed in yesterday's (01/15) concert, conducted by the esteemed Itzhak Perlman, and I was enormously moved and thrilled during the cello solo. The Principal's playing was lushly moving and, indeed, I felt ennobled in the presence of two such glorious talents. I should say three, including the always wonderfully ebullient Jonathan Carney, but I was especially moved with Dariusz Skoraczewski's elegant performance.

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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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