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November 6, 2012

Elliott Carter's death at 103 a reminder of brilliant music Baltimore has been missing

If great artists are appreciated more after they're gone, perhaps brilliant composer Elliott Carter will soon get the wider recognition he deserves.

He died Monday in New York at the age of 103, leaving behind one of the most challenging -- and rewarding -- bodies of musical work of the past century.

In his home city, and a few other major arts capitals, Carter has long been honored for his keen intellect and ability to fashion scores of rich structural cohesion and absorbing inner detail. In places like Baltimore, not so much.

Carter's complexities scare too many audiences (and a lot of musicians, I imagine). It's so much easier on everybody -- especially box offices and public relations departments -- if he is kept off of programs.

At Peabody Conservatory, UMBC or a few other adventurous spots around this area, Carter does get occasional attention, I hasten to add. But at, say, the Baltimore Symphony? LOL.

I already got on my high horse about all of this a few years ago, so, instead of repeating myself, here's my 2009 post, complete with video clips, about the music we have been missing here.


Posted by Tim Smith at 10:48 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Clef Notes


Mr. Catter's music suffers the same neglect in Philadelphia. Our home team played A Symphony of Three Orcestras in 1984 and there has been nothing since. I do not expect improvment under Yannick

Hello Tim,
An die Musik Live is presenting a concert featuring Elliott Carter's piano works by Peabody alum Matthew Odell on Sunday Feb 10 2013 at 4 pm.
The program will feature:
Carter: Sonata, Caténaires, Retrouvailles, Two Diversions, 90+

Barber: Sonata

This tribute to the 103-year-old Carter has long been in the works. I am looking forward to sharing a diverse cross-section of his repertoire, specifically contrasting his Sonata with that of Samuel Barber. Both sonatas were written in the years immediately following WWII, and for all their differences, they share some interesting similarities that I am eager to explore. ~ Matthew Odell

Great news.TIM

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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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