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August 22, 2011

Remembering Darthea Redding Kerr, who worked for Baltimore and National symphony orchestras

Darthea Redding Kerr, who died last week from cancer at the age of 61, was a valued member of the administrative staffs of our region's two major orchestras. Her obituary ran in Monday's Sun.

She served for several years as assistant personnel manager at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (her surname was Olander then).

She went on to serve as executive assistant to the National Symphony Orchestra's music director Leonard Slatkin (she left that post when he took the helm of the Detroit Symphony a few years ago).

Dottie, as she was widely known, was prized in both organizations for her warmth and dedication, and her death has no doubt affected many people.

From an outsider's perspective, I can attest to Dottie's charm. I especially enjoyed seeing her whenever I stopped by the NSO to do an interview with her boss. On one occasion, she took me aside and said something that gave me a particular lift (no, I can't tell divulge it). I'll always enjoy that memory.


Posted by Tim Smith at 10:19 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: BSO, Clef Notes, NSO


Dottie was a wonderful, vibrant, beautiful person. I knew for many years in choral groups and in accompanying her lovely silvery voice. She loved working with musicians and understood our manifold idiosyncracies. She will be missed - may she rest in peace.

Dottie was a wonderful friend and devoted colleague. She provided support, laughter and joy to all around her. Her passing is a true loss.

Dottie and I went to Arnold Elementary and Severna Park High School together. She was a wonderful, caring person with a beautiful voice. A huge loss to all who knew her.

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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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