Baltimore City Orchestra takes New York

Carnegie Hall presented the Baltimore City Orchestra on Saturday evening.

As a joyful preamble, it was a glorious day, with plenty of sunshine and mild weather in the Big Apple. The city was in a relaxed and festive mood from Central Park down to SoHo. The concert could not have had a better setup.

The program featured the NYC premiere of Kevin Puts’ “The City.” The new work was commissioned as a salute to the BSO’s 100th anniversary and the 125th birthday of Carnegie Hall. Mr. Puts is currently serving on the faculty of the Peabody Institute.

Composer of the City: Kevin Puts

“The City” is a stunning tone poem, lasting twenty-five minutes. It was accompanied by a potent film of images and photo clips of Baltimore. The creator of the film is James Bartolomeo.

The BSO was more than up to the task, under the baton of its skillful maestra, Marin Alsop. The capacity audience at the Carnegie gave it a rousing round of applause. I’m please to point out, too, that in the “NY Times” of Monday, April 18th, its critics gave the “The City” a well-deserved and glowing review.

Many of the scenes in “The City” were of iconic images of the past and of current times around Baltimore. This included: the Inner Harbor; B&O R/R’s Mt. Claire Station; dockworkers at the Locust Point piers; steamed crabs by the bushel; Fort McHenry; H.L. Mencken; William Donald Schafer; Clarence Du Burns; our venerable City Hall; Teddy McKeldin; Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street, Cal Ripken, dancers on the streets of West Baltimore; the “Hons” in Hampden, Domino Sugar, and much more.

unnamed-1Footage of the Uprising of April, 2015 was spotlighted, along with the Riots of 1968. Peace and justice activists raising their voices; and, citizens responding by cleaning up the recent mess were highlighted. The latter I took almost as indicator that the battered, but unbeaten Baltimore, is moving on.

One of my fave images was of the BSO, showing where their hearts were, performing a beautiful improvised “Peace & Healing” concert, right in front of the Meyerhof Symphony Hall, only days after the Uprising.

Finally, here are some links to photos from our very special three day trip to NYC.