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June 28, 2012

Baltimore Concert Opera founder to become general director of Opera Delaware

Brendan Cooke, founding general director of Baltimore Concert Opera, has been named general director of Opera Delaware. He starts on the new job July 10.

Cooke launched Baltimore Concert Opera three years ago when Baltimore Opera Company started its descent into bankruptcy and liquidation.

A baritone who sang regularly with Baltimore Opera and other companies, Cooke successfully built the new organization with the help of other local singers and opera fans.

There was little money to start, and no guarantee that audiences would come to un-staged performances with only piano accompaniment in the ballroom of the Engineers Club.

But the concept caught on, and the Baltimore Concert Opera has developed a loyal audience.

The organization plans to continue. Cooke will ...

"remain with BCO in an artistic capacity," according to a press release. Co-founder and board member Julia Cooke will become executive director.

Opera Delaware just finished its 67th season. In a statement, the company's board president, Tony Winchester, praised Cooke's "rich experience in administration, operations, fundraising and leadership" and called him "a standout candidate."

Baltimore Concert Opera board president Ben Schuman said he looked forward "to the possibility of creating synergies between the two companies in the future."

For his part, Cooke said in statement released by Opera Delaware that he is "truly humbled" to be chosen for the general director post. "I can’t wait to get started," he added.


Posted by Tim Smith at 12:04 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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