Joe Squared Joins Meyerhoff, Peabody Institute as Concert Settings for BSO’s ‘New Music Festival’

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Photo via Joe Squared.

The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Peabody Institute are well-known venues for Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performances. A three-day music festival next month plans to add a third location: pizza restaurant Joe Squared, located on North Avenue.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced this week that it is launching a “New Music Festival” from July 13-15, with concerts at three different locations.

Co-curated by BSO music director Marin Alsop and cellist Inbal Segev, the festival will feature chamber and orchestral performances and a free chamber jam. The Meyerhoff and the Peabody will accommodate the larger performances, and Joe Squared will be the setting for the chamber jam.

“We’re thrilled to kick off a New Music Festival here in Baltimore,” said Alsop in a statement. “We’ve designed a very innovative program that reflects the spirit and energy of our community.”

The organizers wanted a relaxed setting that would be different than the Meyerhoff and the Peabody Institute, according to Rafaela Dreisin, the BSO’s audience development manager.

“The BSO wanted to present an out-of-the-concert hall performance that would create a more relaxed concert experience and would aim to attract new audiences,” she said in a statement. “Joe Squared is a staple of the vibrant Station North Arts & Entertainment District, and with their newly updated venue space and history of presenting local music, it made for a perfect fit. You can listen to world class musicians performing some of the most exciting new works out there while drinking a beer with your friends.”

This is not the first time the BSO has performed outside of a traditional venue. In 2014, Dreisin noted, BSO musicians played at The Crown and other venues in Station North as part of the orchestra’s Take-Out Sessions.

The schedule (with descriptions provided by BSO):

Chamber Concert: “Agata Zubel’s Labyrinth,” on Thursday, July 13, 8 p.m. at the Peabody Insitute’s Griswold Hall, located at 1 E. Mount Vernon Place.

The chamber concert will open with the Theme and Variations movement of Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet, and the performance will feature three BSO Premieres: Kevin Puts’ Quintet “The Red Snapper,” Christopher Rouse’s Rotae Passionis (Passion Wheels) and Polish soprano and composer Agata Zubel’s Labyrinth. The concert also features the Baltimore Premiere of Gity Razaz’s The Legend of Sigh for cello and electronics, performed by Inbal Segev.


“Chamber Jam,” on Friday, July 14, 8 p.m. at Joe Squared, located at 33 W. North Avenue.

On Friday, members of the BSO and local New Music groups will participate in an intimate chamber jam performance at Joe Squared. This is a free concert open to the general public.

“Orchestral Concert: Marin Conducts The City,” on Saturday, July 15, 8 p.m., at the Meyerhoff, located at 1212 Cathedral Street.

The festival continues on July 15 at the Meyerhoff as Alsop conducts the BSO Premieres of Zubel’s compositions Chapter 13 and In the Shade of an Unshed Tear, alongside the World Premiere of The Silent Ocean by Syrian-American pianist and composer Malek Jandali. This program also features a rare reprise of Kevin Puts’ The City, co-commissioned by the BSO and presented at Carnegie Hall in 2015.


Preceding the concert will be a block party outside the Meyerhoff beginning at 6 p.m. with live music and food trucks from The Gathering. At 7 p.m., Alsop and several of the evening’s featured composers will take part in a roundtable discussion inside the lobby.

Tickets for the New Music Festival cost $15 for July 13, $25 for July 15 or $30 for both concerts. The chamber jam on July 14 is free and open to the public. Tickets can be purchased through the BSO Ticket Office, 410-783-8000 or online.

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