Tanesha Mitchell, one of 80 amateur musicians who participated in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Academy Week, describes the experience as life-changing. Richard Anderson Photography hide caption

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From a 2012 New York Philharmonic production of Candide, Marin Alsop conducts a cast that includes (from right) Kristin Chenoweth, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Paul Groves and Janine LaManna. Randy Brooke/WireImage hide caption

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Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich's once brilliant career took a dive after the official party paper criticized one of his operas in 1936. Shostakovich responded with his powerful Fifth Symphony. Central Press/Getty Images hide caption

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Titania awakes clinging rapturously to Bottom, still wearing the donkey's head, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mendelssohn wrote music for a production of the play in 1843. Henry Fuseli/Getty Images hide caption

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Gustav Mahler wanted each of his symphonies to contain a world of emotions and ideas. Library of Congress hide caption

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Benjamin Britten takes a cup of tea during rehearsals for his War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral, in Coventry, England in May, 1962. Erich Auerbach/Getty Images hide caption

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Stride piano pioneer James P. Johnson had dreams of becoming a successful symphonic composer. William Gottlieb hide caption

itoggle caption William Gottlieb

Tell us your hopes for classical music in 2013. Lalito/iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Marin Alsop conducted the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra in a beachfront concert Sunday for 20,000 people in Santos, Brazil. Desiree Furoni hide caption

itoggle caption Desiree Furoni