Don't forget to call

February 08, 2005

A TRUMPET fanfare, please, for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's new home away from home down in North Bethesda. The opening of the Music Center at Strathmore has been judged a brilliant success - and one that holds out the hope that the BSO is on the verge of both better financial times and greater national recognition. It's a plus not only for Montgomery County but for Baltimore as well.

Can you hear, though, that indistinct, low, meditative counter-theme that seems to be sounding beneath the blare?

We'd like to think that amid the excitement of this move to Washington's outskirts, the people who run the orchestra, and play in it, won't neglect the folks at home. Strathmore, by all accounts, is a pretty terrific hall - but so is the Meyerhoff. Can an orchestra love two places at once?

James Glicker, the BSO president, says it can. He points out that next year will actually see an increase of four concerts in Baltimore, notwithstanding the 35 additional dates at Strathmore. The added performances in North Bethesda should help the BSO regain its financial footing, after, yes, slumping attendance and drooping corporate support in Baltimore. That can surely only be good news for the orchestra and for its longtime patrons.

Well, sure, we're optimistic - just as long as the BSO doesn't follow in the footsteps of a certain NBA basketball team that made a splash down by the nation's capital and never looked back.

It won't happen, Mr. Glicker says. And we believe him. Even though we're sure that Washingtonians are going to discover what a gem the BSO is, and flock to it. They'll love it, and what institution would not want to reciprocate that love? But that's OK. We're thrilled - really.

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