After 11 seasons, Res Music America finds it 'impossible to continue'

Music notes L

May 29, 1991|By Ernest F. Imhoff

Res Music America, an innovative local music group devoted for 11 years to playing contemporary American music in Maryland places as diverse as a car dealership and the Baltimore Museum of Art, will have no season next year, a victim of the recession.

"Cutbacks in private, corporate and government funding coupled with rising costs," director Vivian Adelberg Rudow said, "make it impossible to continue past production standards."

Rudow, expressing both "accomplishment and regret," called the lack of a 1991-92 season a "recession sabbatical." She said "RMA, however, will be available for funded special-events projects." No mention was made of the 1992-93 season.

Her group of rotating musicians and music, known most of its life as Res Musica Baltimore, specialized in both conventional and unconventional music, such as computer-created sounds. It had residencies at the BMA and the Walters Art Gallery.

To survive financially, Res Musica won grants from city, county, state and federal agencies as well as from local and national foundations friendly to the arts. Rudow attributed the grants to "strong volunteer workers, enthusiastic large audiences, high artistic standards and the inclusion of all ethnic people."

In its last concert of the season April 14, Rudow presented oboist Vladimir Lande and his wife, pianist Irina Lande, in a moving concert arranged to allow the public to hear the talented Soviet couple at Dundalk Community College.

"RMA takes pride," she continued, "in being the cutting edge of music, performing tonal music when unfashionable, including unusual uses of new, weird but wonderful music, jazz and visuals from slides to laser beams."

Altogether, the organization presented 283 works, including 82 world premieres and 52 Baltimore premieres, the works of 160 different composers and and performance opportunities for 194 artists. Thousands of city public school students heard her free lecture/demonstrations.

The group hosted composers from 10 foreign countries at its International Electroacoustic Music Festival in 1988. Rudow herself was invited to present a work of electronic music at an international conference in Cuba this month.

* Two Peabody Conservatory graduates, Brian Ganz of Bethesda, head of the piano faculty at St. Mary's College in St. Mary's, and Stephen Prutsman, fourth-place winner in the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition last year, are the only Americans among 12 finalists chosen in the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium International Piano Competition in Brussels.

The Belgium competition is one of the most prestigious in the world. More than 100 pianists competed. For his recital Friday, the 31-year-old Ganz, a St. Mary's faculty member since 1986, will play a newly commissioned work, a Mozart concerto. Winners will be announced Saturday.

* The Baltimore City College concert and jazz bands each won silver trophy in their first appearance Sunday at The Maple Leaf Festival of high school bands in Toronto.

J. Russell Perkins, band director for nine years, led th64-member concert band, which played Copland's "Variations on Shaker Melody," "Chorale and Allegro" and "The Billboard March." The 20-member jazz band played "As Times Goes By," "Take Five" and "Do Nothing Til' You Hear From Me."

The silver trophies were secondplace ratings on a scale of six different categories.

* The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $5,100 to the Baltimore Choral Arts Society for singers' fees and $5,900 to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's chorus for singers' fees, accompanist, classes, workshops, voice lessons and salaries in the 1991-92 year. The grants were among a total of $435,000 given 37 choruses from 18 states and the District of Columbia.

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