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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 26, 2013
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is serving up a meaty program this week and is welcoming back some substantial guest artists to help deliver it. Midori, the supernaturally gifted violinist and energetic champion of music education, makes her first BSO appearance since 2001 playing Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2. On Thursday night at Meyerhoff Hall, she burrowed so deeply into this complex and ever-fascinating score that she seemed to be composing it...
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 4, 2014
  You just never know when lightning will strike in a concert hall. It happened Thursday night at the Meyerhoff, where conductor Jakub Hrusa made his Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debut, generating unmistakable sparks in works by Dvorak and Janacek, and where veteran pianist Andre Watts once again showed 'em who's boss in a bracing account of the Grieg concerto. Having often complained about the shortage of big-name (or at least moderately big) conductors on the BSO's roster of podium guests, let me hasten to say that I am all for being introduced to genuine talents who are not necessarily well-known on these shores.
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By Tim Smith | June 9, 2002
"Mahler has a special place in my soul," Yuri Temirkanov says. "I don't know why. Don't ask me." The conductor, who has led the BSO in the first two Mahler symphonies since becoming music director, turns to the Third this week. (He'll add the Fifth next season.) Temirkanov discovered the music of Mahler while playing the Third Symphony as a member of an orchestra in Russia in the 1950s. "Mahler had not been played in Russia for 15 years," Temirkanov says, "so it was a complete revelation to me."
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 26, 2013
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is serving up a meaty program this week and is welcoming back some substantial guest artists to help deliver it. Midori, the supernaturally gifted violinist and energetic champion of music education, makes her first BSO appearance since 2001 playing Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2. On Thursday night at Meyerhoff Hall, she burrowed so deeply into this complex and ever-fascinating score that she seemed to be composing it...
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | December 16, 1991
Brahms' First Piano Concerto asks a lot from the soloist. The pianist must be nothing less than an Olympic athlete and a Romantic hero. In her performance of the piece with the Peabody Concert Orchestra and conductor Hajime Teri Murai in Friedberg Hall Saturday, Marian Hahn performed both roles with full measure.She had the temperament for the fiery outer movements; the right feel for the mournful and meditative second movement; the heroic sonority necessary to project through the dense orchestration; and the endurance to suggest that -- had she been asked -- she could have sat down and played the piece all over again.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 18, 1996
Beethoven's "Kreutzer" Sonata not only inspired the great piece of short fiction by Tolstoy that bears its name, but also a countless number of sexy perfume ads. The first movement, particularly, reaches an extraordinary (even for Beethoven) peak passion and fury. The way that violinist Pamela Frank and pianist Claude Frank performed this work Saturday night in the Shriver Hall Concert Series made it easy to understand why the deranged narrator of Tolstoy's novella says this music is dangerous and irrational and that it leads inevitably to adultery and murder.
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By J. D. Considine and J. D. Considine,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | February 18, 2000
Over the past few decades, classical music has become increasingly concerned with notions of historical accuracy. Performers don't consider just the composer's intentions; they also try to emulate the instrumentation and performance practices of his time. But after hearing pianist Andras Schiff playing with and conducting the Baltimore Symphony last night, let me say this: Historicity is bunk. As Schiff understands, the point isn't to offer the past recaptured, but to present each work in a way that speaks clearly and vividly to the audience in modern terms.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | December 15, 2001
In a world full of uncertainty, it's comforting to be surrounded by the certain pleasures of superb chamber music superbly played. That was the draw for a sizable crowd Thursday evening at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. The concert was built around veteran cellist Janos Starker, whose solid, no-nonsense musicianship has earned him great respect for more than 50 years. He was joined on this occasion by violinist William Preucil, the sterling concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra and former leader of the Cleveland Quartet who happens to be Starker's son-in-law; and pianist Shigeo Neriki, longtime Starker collaborator.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | June 14, 1991
Leading a performance of Mahler's Eighth Symphony must be as daunting as conducting an opera: So much can go wrong.If last night's season-concluding Baltimore Symphony performance of the work was not as large as the "Symphony of a Thousand" that Mahler conducted at the work's premiere in 1910 (in which 1,030 musicians participated), there was still plenty to concern BSO music director David Zinman: musicians on stage and in boxes; soloists on stage and in a box; and choristers on stage and in boxes.
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By Kenneth Meltzer and Kenneth Meltzer,Contributing Writer | November 27, 1993
In a recent Sun interview, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers revealed that it was Music Director David Zinman who selected Wieniawski's Second Concerto for this weekend's Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program. The 23-year-old violinist rather broadly hinted that the virtuoso showpiece was hardly among her favorites. Anyone who read that interview must have anticipated Ms. Meyers' performance with some degree of unease, if not trepidation.In truth, Ms. Meyers is among that calibre of violinists who are virtually incapable of a poor performance.
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By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | April 29, 2012
Annapolis became a major cultural metropolis this month, thanks to the presentation of two musical masterworks — one by a major 19th-century symphony composer, the other by a major 19th-century opera composer. Both works, which premiered within 20 years of each other, focus on the meaning of life and death. At the U.S. Naval Academy's Alumni Hall on April 19, the Distinguished Artists Series closed with the 39th annual Spring Oratorio. The presentation of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 featured Aaron Smith conducting the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Naval Academy men's and women's glee clubs, the Goucher College Chorus, and soloists.
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By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Sun | May 21, 2008
With energy and passion, the Anne Arundel Community College Orchestra offered a spring concert that lived up to its title, "Finale With Fire!" Much of the credit has to go to Anna Binneweg, who became the AACC Orchestra's director and conductor and a teacher in fall 2006. Since then, the ensemble has nearly doubled in size to 64. A quarter of the musicians remain from 2006, indicating membership stability. Most of the horn section remains intact, along with flutes and trumpets and two trombonists, and there are also at least five of the 2006 violinists.
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By Eileen Soskin and Eileen Soskin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | May 6, 2005
The American String Quartet's concert will provide an opportunity to be swept away by three remarkable pieces of music at 4 p.m. Sunday at Smith Theatre at Howard Community College. The American String Quartet, formed in 1974, has won critical acclaim for its performances of the classical string quartet repertoire and for its collaborations with distinguished contemporary composers. Sunday's program by quartet members Daniel Avshalomov (viola), Margo Tatgenhorst Drakos (cello), Peter Winograd and Laurie Carney (violins)
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 16, 2005
The consuming interest in the Washington area Thursday night was the return of baseball to the nation's capital, but that didn't seem to keep anyone away from the Music Center at Strathmore, where a young violinist hit one out of the park in the first inning and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra scored runs on its own in the second. The program, which has two more, well-worth-catching performances this weekend at the BSO's home plate (all right, I'll stop), revels in the melodic wealth and imaginative instrumental coloring of 1880s French romanticism.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 24, 2003
Composers inevitably reveal much of themselves in just about anything they write, but when they choose the piano concerto as a medium, the revelations have a way of becoming particularly telling. You can get a strong reminder of this in the latest Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program, which offers two exceptional examples - and a superlative soloist to facilitate the communicating. Mozart couldn't be more direct and open-hearted than he is in his Concerto No. 27; for all of its grand C major flourishes and decorative trimmings, what shines through is an incredible eloquence and ingenuity of expression.
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By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | May 15, 2003
Jason Love and his Columbia Orchestra concluded the ensemble's 25th anniversary season at the Jim Rouse Theatre on Saturday evening by staring down the turbulent 5th Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich. And true to form, neither Love nor his players flinched. Shostakovich spent most of his artistic life being bullied and harassed by the Soviet government, which perceived the moody ambiguity of his music as a threat to the dictum that "scientific socialism" would produce nothing but smiles of gratitude in Stalin's Communist paradise.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | June 1, 1991
Midori's appearance with David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra last night in Meyerhoff Hall made three things abundantly clear. She looks great in yellow; she plays the violin sensationally well; and she isn't yet mature enough to have much of an idea of what the Brahms Violin Concerto is about.A 19-year-old violinist shouldn't be expected to give authoritative performances of pieces as profound as the Brahms Concerto, of course. But this listener heard Midori perform a superb Sibelius Concerto a month ago despite an indifferent accompaniment from conductor Kurt Masur and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, so he had hopes.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 13, 1996
It would have been unrealistic to expect William Bolcom to come up with a masterpiece for "Gaea," the work that received its world premiere Thursday night in Meyerhoff Hall from pianists Gary Graffman, Leon Fleisher, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and its music director, David Zinman. Only J. S. Bach -- not Beethoven and not even Mozart -- could have achieved greatness in circumstances such as Bolcom's. And even Bach didn't hit an "Art of the Fugue" every time he stepped up to the plate.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | May 15, 2003
Jason Love and his Columbia Orchestra concluded the ensemble's 25th anniversary season at Jim Rouse Theatre on Saturday evening by staring down the turbulent 5th Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich. And true to form, neither Love nor his players flinched. Shostakovich spent most of his artistic life being bullied and harassed by the Soviet government, which perceived the moody ambiguity of his music as a threat to the dictum that "scientific socialism" would produce nothing but smiles of gratitude in Stalin's Communist paradise.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 25, 2003
Murray Perahia may be more of a medium than a pianist. When he plays, it's as if he is somehow channeling the essence of a composer, not merely articulating notes of a score. Bach materializes before us, super-sized, just the way we like to think of him - ingenious, playful, utterly sincere. Beethoven struts his obstinately individualistic stuff, daring us to question his methods or his motives. Schubert charms and surprises us, sometimes worries us a little. Such, at any rate, was the impression Wednesday night as Perahia performed music by those three men in a recital with the Shriver Hall Concert Series.
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