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January 4, 2012

Former Center Stage exec to head Carmel Bach Festival

Debbie Chinn, former managing director of Center Stage, has been named executive director of the Carmel Bach Festival, effective this spring.

The festival, held in July, has been a significant part of California's cultural life for 75 years and has developed a fine reputation far beyond the West Coast.

In August 2010, a few months after Irene Lewis announced she was being forced out as artistic director of Center Stage after nearly two decades, Chinn resigned from the company.

She said at the time that she wanted Center Stage to "be free to chart its own course without being confined by past practices -- even if that meant reconsidering my own position."

She had been managing day-to-day operations at the company for two years.

Chinn, who plans to move from her current home in Towson to the Carmel area in the spring, brings a wide range of experiences to her new post.

Her resume includes administrative stints with the San Francisco Symphony, California Shakespeare Theater, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and Center Theatre Group of the Music Center of Los Angeles.

She has also served on the boards of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, Theatre Communications Group, and the Association of California Symphony Orchestras. 

In a statement released Wednesday, Chinn said she ...

was "deeply inspired" by Carmel Bach Festival music director Paul Goodwin's ideas for the future of "profoundly impressed by the devoted support from the Festival's ever-growing community."

Goodwin returned the compliments, saying "we connected immediately, and I'm looking forward to an exciting and fruitful partnership.”

Festival board president David Nee praised Chinn's "superb record of embracing innovation while preserving the great traditions from which it springs."


Posted by Tim Smith at 9:25 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes, Drama Queens

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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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