Baltimore music | WYPR

Baltimore music

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, non-essential businesses like bars and retail outlets are slowly re-opening. But concert venues like the Ottobar in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood face a particular challenge: they were the first to close and they’ll be the last to fully reopen.  

In the before times, a typical Friday night at the alternative music venue involved dancing, drinking and “absolute madness,” said Tecla Tesnau, the Ottobar’s owner. 

Midday On Music: Adapting To An Online-Only World

Aug 13, 2020
Photo by Pawel Loj/Flickr Creative Commons

Today, Midday on Music: conversations with musicians across musical genres, to see how they are faring in a world where to gather in a large group is to put your life at risk. Instead, artists and arts organizations are adapting to an online-only world. 

Later in the show, Tom speaks with three pianists with local roots whose work has taken them to venues around the world:  Classical pianist Lura Johnson,  composer, producer and pianist Wendel Patrick and virtuoso jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut.

We begin with a look at Maryland’s largest arts organization, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The BSO’s performances, of course, have been put on hold -- except its online offerings. Brian Prechtl is a percussionist with the BSO, and the head of the Players Committee. Peter Kjome is the orchestra’s president and CEO. They join Tom on Zoom, like all our guests today.

During the show, we mentioned the following happenings by local performers and arts organizations, all of which are reaching audiences from a distance:

Cyrus Chestnut is appearing at Keystone Korner tonight through Sunday -- and helping NEA Jazz Master Todd Barkan celebrate his 74th birthday. The onsite concert is sold out. Virtual tickets are still available.

Sidewalk Serenades from Creative Alliance: Have a short performance delivered to your sidewalk, or send one to a friend.

Craig Alston and Friends Birthday Celebration: Streaming live from An Die Musik tonight at 7 pm!

Ken and Brad Kolodner and Friends: Streaming live this Saturday at 8 pm, part of the Creative Alliance’s Virtual Front Row series of concerts. 

The Social Isolation Song Series by Baltimore-based Dan and Claudia Zanes. For more than 150 days, they have posted a daily song.  Here’s their adaptation of “Which Side are You On?"

The Future of Arts Activism

Nov 21, 2018
Rowland Scherman - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Music has long been used as protest. Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, John Lennon, and CCR, and so many others, used their music as a way to protest the Vietnam War. They wrote songs that addressed systemic injustices and sought to unite people through the power of their music.

Today, many musicians are doing the same.

Music as activism is constantly growing and evolving, and art continues to be a vital medium for expression and dialogue.

Today on the show we’re looking at the Arts… Arts as Activism. We’ll be talking with musicians and visual artists about how their art is intertwined with their activism. 

all photos by Dan Goodrich

At midnight on Thursday, July 30th, 2015, the final amps and drum kits were reluctantly lugged out of Station North's longtime music rehearsal space, The Hour Haus.  After 25 years as a music practice facility and performance venue, the building is being converted to office space.  Audio producer Adam Droneburg and photographer Dan Goodrich spent the past few months chronicling the end of the Hour Haus era, collecting interviews and portraits of the building's final musical residents.