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August 25, 2011

Pro Musica Rara's 37th season to feature Julianne Baird, baroque dance

These have been tough times for arts groups; they can be even tougher on niche groups.

So it's good news that Pro Musica Rara, Baltimore's long-running period instrument ensemble, has mustered the resources for a 37th season. A very attractive season, too.

As I've mentioned before, Pro Musica has made great strides over the past decade or so. The playing, technically and expressively, is on a classy level as a rule. Programming is consistently thoughtful, with lots of intriguing twists. 

The one nagging problem has been financiual support. A few more angels would come in handy.  

Back to Pro Musica Rara's 2011-2012 lineup. Of particular note is the return of ...

soprano Julianne Baird, a major star in early music circles. She made a memorable appearance with Pro Musica last season.

On Nov. 6 at Towson University's Center for the Arts, Baird will be featured in a program called "Jane Austen's Songbook" with cellist Allen Whear (Pro Musica's artistic director) and fortepianist Eva Mengelkoch. The concert promises vocal and instrumental works from Austen's own collection. Cool. 

The season opens Oct. 9 with a focus on the dance forms that are such an integral part of Bach's music. Whear will offer excerpts from the solo cello suites; violinist Cynthia Roberts will play portions of the solo works for violin. The various minuets, sarabandes and the like will be interpreted onstage by Catherine Turocy (director of the New York Baroque Dance Company) and Meggi Sweeney Smith.

Sonatas for violin and keyboard by Mozart, Beethoven and others will be performed by Roberts and fortepianist Christoph Hammer on March 11.

The fortepiano will be in the picture, too, on April 29, with Mengelkoch as the player, joined by the Pro Musica Rara Classical Quartet -- violinists Greg Mulligan and Ivan Stefanovic, violist Sharon Pineo Myer, and Whear. The program includes a quintet by Boccherini and a chamber version of a Mozart piano concerto.

Like I said, a very attractive season from Pro Musica Rara.


Posted by Tim Smith at 8:46 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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