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By Tim Smith | tim.smith@baltsun.com | December 27, 2009
Even the most steeped-in-Baltimore-history types might stare blankly at the mention of Asger Hamerik, but the Danish composer played a crucial, longtime role in the city's cultural history. Hamerik arrived in Baltimore in 1871 to become the second director of the still young Peabody Institute, a post he held for 27 years. During that period, the music conservatory came into its own. Hamerik ushered in tough academic standards. As Ray Robinson's "A History of the Peabody Conservatory of Music" (1969)
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 20, 2014
Among those most deeply affected by the death of cellist Dmitry Volkov were his colleagues in the award-winning Russia Trio -- pianist Katherine Harris Rick and violinist Nikita Borisevich. At Monday's memorial held at the Peabody Conservatory, where Mr. Volkov and the other trio members did graduate studies, Ms Rick delivered these touching remarks about her friend: I remember very vividly the first time I met Dmitry. I had heard the buzz about his incredible playing that went around when he first arrived on campus, so when I received a call from him about needing an accompanist for something, I immediately started practicing.
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By Dan Rodricks | November 21, 2010
Casey Butler, the young Peabody Conservatory student who collapsed and died Monday during her weekly bassoon lesson, had a simple and extravagantly beautiful motto: "Life is music. " That's quite different from its transposition, "Music is life," which tends to suggest obsessive pursuit of technical perfection or a tendency to regard music as something wholly separate — a discipline, or commercial enterprise — from the world that inspires it. I did not know Casey Butler, but her motto suggests someone in full embrace of her world, in love with life, listening closely and hearing beauty in its shouts and whispers.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 15, 2014
(UPDATED 5/15 WITH PROBABLE CAUSE OF DEATH) Dmitry Volkov, a promising Russian-born cellist who received an Artist Diploma from Peabody Conservatory last year, died on May 10 while visiting Baltimore. He was 26. The cause of death appears to have been a heart defect. "The preliminary word is that it was cardiac arrhythmia," said violinist Daniel Heifetz, founder of the Heifetz International Music Institute at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va., where Mr. Volkov had been an artist in residence.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 12, 2014
Baltimore arts patrons Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker have donated $1 million to the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University to establish scholarships for students of near-legendary pianist and veteran Peabody faculty artist Leon Fleisher. In a statement released Monday, Meyerhoff called the 85-year-old Fleisher "quite simply, one of the great musicians of our time," one who "attracts stellar pianistic talents to the Peabody Institute from all over the world. " The new donation follows the $1 million Meyerhoff and Becker donated in recent years to support an endowment for undergraduate piano scholarships.
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By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | April 15, 2013
A reception will be held Wednesday at the Peabody Conservatory in honor of the late Mary C. Walker, who upon her death donated $800,000 to the institution where she studied and worked for most of her life. The bulk of Walker's gift - $600,000 - is being designated for undergraduate scholarships, the Conservatory announced recently. The remaining $200,000 will be split evenly between the alumni fund and the archives. Walker was a granddaughter of a man who made his fortune in the 19 t h century in the meatpacking business.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 6, 2012
In terms of talent, glamour and wide appeal, few opera singers today rank as high as mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. No wonder there's quite a buzz at the Peabody Conservatory, where Graves will join the voice faculty in the fall. People are still talking about a master class that Graves gave at the conservatory last September. "She didn't know she was auditioning," said Phyllis Bryn-Julson, the distinguished soprano who chairs the voice department. "It was a phenomenal day for the students.
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By Stephen Wigler | March 29, 1991
Hajime Teri Murai has been appointed as the Peabody Conservatory of Music's chief conductor. The conservatory announced yesterday that Murai will be the first occupant of the Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Music Director Chair, which was established last summer as part of a $3 million gift from the Blaustein-Rosenberg-Thalheimer family group.The 37-year-old Murai -- who was born in San Francisco, is currently the chief conductor of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and has won numerous awards for adventurous programming -- is the first resident conductor of the Peabody Conservatory since the departure of Peter Eros five years ago.Because of the conservatory's financial problems and uncertainty about its future in recent years, it became impossible to fill so major a position until Peabody's problems were resolved last summer.
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By Robert Hilson Jr. and Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF | July 16, 1997
Mary Jane Brown, a tap dancer whose career spanned 30 years and who later taught dance at the Peabody Conservatory, died Saturday of cancer at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson. She was 80.Ms. Brown, who lived in the Village of Cross Keys, taught at Peabody from 1992 until May. She was known for her inventive classes, patience with students and a "drill sergeant" manner of instruction."She was tough, very tough, but she taught so brilliantly," said Marjorie Liss, one of Ms. Brown's former students and now a music professor at Peabody.
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By SYLVIA BADGER | April 15, 1992
Around town: Lots of famous faces were spotted in our fair city this past week, and two of them were at the Peabody Court Hotel. Jim Palmer fans called to say they were thrilled to be having dinner at a table near his in the elegant Peabody Conservatory, while other hotel guests were astonished to see Lassie walk into the hotel.Yep, Lassie, the movie dog, was a guest at the Peabody, along with his press agent and trainer. Lassie was in town for the American Kennel Club's National Invitational Dog Championship, and I hear he left a paw print photo for the hotel staff.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2014
WQXR in New York reports that Anthony McGill, one of the most eloquent clarinetists of our day, will join the New York Philharmonic in September as principal. McGill has been co-principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for a decade and a Peabody Conservatory faculty member since 2008. There is extra interest in the Philharmonic post since McGill is the third musician to be hired since the retirement, after six decades, of Stanley Drucker in 2009. The first two accepted the position, but subsequently changed their minds.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 12, 2014
Baltimore arts patrons Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker have donated $1 million to the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University to establish scholarships for students of near-legendary pianist and veteran Peabody faculty artist Leon Fleisher. In a statement released Monday, Meyerhoff called the 85-year-old Fleisher "quite simply, one of the great musicians of our time," one who "attracts stellar pianistic talents to the Peabody Institute from all over the world. " The new donation follows the $1 million Meyerhoff and Becker donated in recent years to support an endowment for undergraduate piano scholarships.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 29, 2014
Music in the Great Hall wrapped up its 40th anniversary season Sunday afternoon at Towson Unitarian with two powerhouse artists -- flutist Marina Piccinini and pianist Michael Sheppard.  I could only stay for the first half of their recital (a performance of Rachmaninoff's "Vespers," one of my faves, beckoned at another locale), but it was a decidedly eventful first half. Piccinini, a Peabody Conservatory faculty member with a busy international career, established the sweetness and purity of her tone at the outset in the familiar Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Gluck's "Orphee.
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By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | February 19, 2014
Arthur V. D'Orazio, a retired Bethlehem Steel Corp. worker and musician, died Sunday of a heart attack at Stella Maris Hospice. He was 93. The son of Alessandro D'Orazio, a garment worker, and Elizabeth Grue D'Orazio, a homemaker, Arthur Vincent D'Orazio was born in Baltimore and raised near North Avenue and Fayette Street. He was a 1938 graduate of the old Thomas A. Edison Vocational High School at Howard and Centre streets. During World War II, he served with the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment and fought in the New Guinea and Corregidor campaigns.
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February 14, 2014
Sunday, Feb. 16 Dance concert Misako Ballet Company presents "Spring Collage" at 2 p.m. at the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road in Columbia. Concert will showcase diverse cultures and styles of dance. Tickets are $15. Information: 410-884-9690 or misakoballet.com. Lecture The Howard County Historical Society presents Philip Merrill, an expert in African-American history, memorabilia, culture and an appraiser with the Maryland Public Television show "Chesapeake Collectibles" at 2:30 p.m. at Howard County Library's Miller branch, 8421 Frederick Road.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | November 18, 2013
The other day (OK, it was last week -- your humble correspondent has been way behind on everything lately), Washington National Opera presented the premieres of three 20-minute pieces that as part of its  second annual American Opera Initiative. I found the experience rewarding on many levels. Each of these mini-operas addressed an American theme (immigration provided a subject for two of the three). Each revealed a certain confidence, a sense of purpose, a determination to make a meaningful statement.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 25, 2005
That strange mix of wailing and whimpering you might have been hearing is not from folks sick of shoveling snow, but the Pavlovian reflex of certain music lovers upon learning that compositions from the Second Viennese School have been added to the winter calendar. Thanks to the Peabody Conservatory - and I really do mean thanks - concertgoers have an unusual opportunity coming up to sample the art of Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern. These revolutionary, Vienna-based composers generated the most provocative and influential sounds in that city since the days of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven (you could call them the First Viennese School, except that title isn't commonly used)
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By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2013
Lynn Taylor Hebden, a Baltimore-born lyric soprano who headed the Peabody Preparatory Department for more than two decades and was also a member of the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory, died Sunday from complications of breast cancer at her Roland Park home. She was 84. "I always sought her advice and historical perspective. She always was very interested and wanted to know how people on the faculty she had known were doing," said Carolee Stewart, the preparatory school's dean.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | November 16, 2013
It has been nearly 30 years since Francis Poulenc's haunting opera “Dialogues of the Carmelites” was staged in Baltimore. No telling when or if it might return, so the opportunity offered this weekend by Peabody Opera Theatre should not be passed up. This uneven, but ultimately moving, production marks the third annual collaboration between Peabody Conservatory and the Modell/Lyric Performing Arts Center. The public does not seem to appreciate the value of the venture; attendance each year has been modest, as was the case again Friday night for the first of two performances of “Dialogues.” This valuable partnership deserves to be sustained, not to mention enhanced - increased funding would enable larger, more Lyric-scaled sets, for one thing.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | November 13, 2013
For many years, critics didn't take French composer Francis Poulenc or his music very seriously, even after his first opera was premiered in 1947. Then again, that entry into the operatic realm wasn't likely to win over skeptics. The title is "The Breasts of Tiresias," and the surreal plot includes a man who fathers 40,000 children in one day. But Poulenc was the real deal, a composer with a distinctive flair for lyrical melody and an ear for exquisite harmony to support it. Those gifts were widely recognized and acclaimed when he created his second work for the stage, "Dialogues of the Carmelites," first heard in 1957.
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