Pro Musicis is taking classical music to some places it is rarely heard


The Rev. Eugene Merlet is a Capuchin Franciscan priest who feels as Dostoevsky that "beauty will save the world" and music should be shared with all. So in 1965 in France he founded Pro Musicis as a non-profit music organization spreading music to the unlikely.

The idea was soon carried to America and to those who rarely, if ever, hear classical music -- people in hospices, shelters, prisons, homes for the handicapped and drug treatment centers. And now to Baltimore.

Troubled youths, patients at Sheppard Pratt, elderly shut-ins as well as city elementary school children and general music fans will hear classical music in two recital programs expanding music's influence here, one funded by Pro Musicis and Baltimore's Peggy and Yale Gordon Trust and the other by the Gordon Trust alone.

In the first series, pianist Jon Klibonoff will present three Pro Musicis concerts Friday, March 22, at Faith Presbyterian Church, for nearby Woodbourne School youths; at Levindale Nursing Center for the elderly and at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center for clients there.

Then Klibonoff will play 24 preludes, No. 1-24 (Opus 28), by Frederic Chopin in a free public recital at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 24, at McManus Theatre, Loyola College. Only 310 seats are available, so first come, first served. Klibonoff is a leading young American recitalist, having won several prestigious competitions and performing often.

In the other Yale Gordon program, Isador and Ann Saslav, violin and piano duo, are playing at 26 city elementary schools through March 27, their fourth season of tours at city public schools and sevent in the state.

Isador Saslav, the former Baltimore Symphony concertmaster and Peabody teacher, is concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He and his wife, a recitalist, have performed as a duo for 26 years and live in New Zealand and Texas. The series title, Mt. Washington Concert Series, comes from their former Baltimore neighborhood.

Mary Larsen, a schools facilitator, coordinated the concerts. The remaining schedule is March 15 -- Maree G. Farring and Westport schools; March 18 -- Leith Walk, Yorkwood and Callaway schools; March 19 -- Rognel Heights and Windsor Hills schools, and March 20 -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Govans schools.

Then, March 21 -- Lakeland and James Mosher schools; March 22 -- Robert W. Coleman and Walter P. Carter schools; March 25 -- Furley and Barrister Charles Carroll schools; March 26 -- John Ruhrah and Armistead Gardens schools, and March 27 -- Hilton school.

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