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August 28, 2012

Mobtown Modern 'on sabbatical' for 2012-2013 season

After five years of energizing Baltimore's contemporary music scene, Mobtown Modern has suspended operations.

The organization is on what director Brian Sacawa is calling a "sabbatical" for the 2012-2013 season.

"It's not that I couldn't have had the [concert] series, but that I chose not to," Sacawa said Tuesday.

"From a financial perspective, we could have done it. But I needed a break. I'm going to take a year off and maybe start it up again next year."

Mobtown Modern, co-curated initially by Sacawa and Erik Spangler, debuted with concerts at the Contemporary Museum and moved to other venues around town over the years. Programming has been remarkably adventurous, digging into repertoire that was new to Baltimore or rarely encountered here, and the quality of performances has been consistently high.

For the past few seasons, Sacawa essentially ...

ran the enterprise himself. "It's tiring," he said. "Fundraising is time-consuming and not my favorite thing to do. I don't like asking people for money."

Sacawa, a gifted saxophonist, is a longtime member of the U.S. Army Field Band. "I have a lot more responsibilities at my job now," he said, "and that's very important to me."

When -- or if -- Mobtown Modern cranks up again in the future will not be known for a while.

"I just felt that the series wasn't fulfilling the same need for me as it was," Sacawa said. "I have to try to evaluate if I miss doing it. I will have a better picture after this break. But I'm pretty proud and happy with what I've done with Mobtown and what it has meant to Baltimore audiences."


Posted by Tim Smith at 11:41 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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