Thursday, December 31, 2009

South Texas Finest in 2009

Here are ten concerts that knocked my socks off around South Texas this last year - host John Clare.
Ten great concerts in 2009

10. Austin Symphony Peter Bay May 2009 – World Premiere of Dan Welcher’s Fifth Symphony – wonderful celebration of 10 years with Peter Bay leading the Austin Symphony and a orchestral tour de force from Welcher.

9. Round Top Festival Orchestra JoAnn Falletta June 2009– Ballet Russe 100th – Ballet scores presented with young people of Round Top and maestro Falletta, hard to beat!

8. Five Browns in Kerrville May 2009 – Debussy Nocturnes with two pianos blew me away but how fun is The Planets with five pianos!

7. SOLI gone Mad! May 2009 – Music by Higdon, Torke & Maxwell Davies. Stunning visuals and out of this world singing by guest Timothy Jones.

6. Czech it out! Mid Texas Symphony David Mairs Di Wu September 2009 – Musical interpretation of Chopin’s First Piano Concerto with this Cliburn Competition finalist.

5. SAIPC Silver Medalist Andrea Lam October 2009 – stunning Prokofiev Piano Sonata from this young Australian!

4. Carmina Burana & Gil Shaham San Antonio Symphony Ken David Masur September 2009 – Shaham’s encore of Bach was to die for, and his Barber was equally stunning.

3. Beethoven 7 San Antonio Symphony Alondra de la Parra October 2009 – The clear choice for Music Director, Alondra de la Parra brought out the best for Beethoven’s masterpiece.

2. Assad Brothers in concert Southwest Guitar Festival February 2009 – Amazing duo and solo playing from the dream team from Brazil.

1. Solely SOLI March 2009 – Music by Rodriguez, Williams, Puts, and Vega. Excellent programming and playing from SOLI Chamber Ensemble.

Classical Spotlight: New Year Edition

We look at 2009 with a best of Classical Spotlight, including never heard before segments and upcoming concerts in and around San Antonio.
Don't miss Ken Freudigman talking about Camerata San Antonio's American Rhythms coming up on January 7,8 & 10th!
We'll revisit releases by Richard Wernick and Jessica Mathaes, plus an in studio performance by Bill Kanengeiser from the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.

Bill Kanengiser LIVE from John Clare on Vimeo.

We'll also hear the world broadcast premiere of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra & Philippe Entremont in Haydn's final Symphony #104 from Vienna on the 75th birthday of the great pianist/maestro!
Tune in @ 2pm for Classical Spotlight on KPAC & KTXI, online @

Special bonus...a documentary about Entremont on his 75th birthday:

Composing Thoughts Vienna from John Clare on Vimeo.

Tomorrow's Piano Titans, Today!

Young musicians from all over came to the Alamo City to compete in the 10th San Antonio International Piano Competition this last October. Thanks to the artists competing and board of directors of the SAIPC, KPAC is pleased to present these performances Sunday Afternoons through January.

The Piano will feature different performers starting with the Semi-Final competition and this Sunday the contestants will play three piano sonatas by Haydn, Scriabin and Beethoven.

The Piano, this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host, Randy Anderson

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

JC off, not gone

I thought I'd mention I'm just off on Friday, New Year's day, not gone or have quit. If you've read any releases about SOLI Chamber Ensemble lately, you will have seen that I've been "appointed" executive director for the ensemble. Please know I'll still be on the airwaves and conducting interviews for Classical Spotlight on KPAC & KTXI. Happy New Year!
John Clare, KPAC Afternoon host and newly appointed Executive Director for SOLI Chamber Ensemble

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New deputy commander

The Band of the West would like to introduce one of its newest members, Deputy Commander 2nd Lieutenant Joseph Hansen! 2nd Lieutenant Hansen, originally from Gunnison, Colorado, graduated Officer Training School in October of 2009, and joined the Band of the West shortly thereafter.

Prior to joining the Air Force, 2nd Lieutenant Hansen was a music educator in the Colorado Springs area, teaching all levels of band--elementary through high school. After living in Colorado Springs, among many people serving in the military, his desire to serve grew and he auditioned as a pianist for the Army National Guard band. He begun drilling with the Army Guard, but before he left for Basic Training, he auditioned for and won a conducting position with the Air Force. 2nd Lieutenant Hansen is excited to be in the band and looks forward to touring, performing for communities, troops and spreading the Air Force message through music.

See members of the band perform here, and an interview with their commander as well!

75 years of Top Ten

The BBC has released the most played classical music over the last 75 years...the winner? Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.
Here's the story. And here's their list:
1 Orff - O Fortuna (Kurt Eichhorn)
2 Vaughan Williams - Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis (Bernard Haitink)
3 Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade (Charles Mackerras)
4 Tchaikovsky - The Sleeping Beauty (Mikhail Pletnev)
5 Schumann - Romance In F Sharp Major Op 28/2 (Joseph Cooper)
6 Delibes - Sylvia (Richard Bonynge)
7 Rachmaninov - Symphony No 2 (Vladimir Ashkenazy)
8 Holst - The Planets (James Loughran)
9 Tchaikovsky - The Sleeping Beauty (Valery Gergiev)
10 Schubert - Symphony No 5 (Neville Marriner)

How do these stack up against San Antonio's top 100? Take a look here.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Classical Spotlight: Behind Bars

This week we'll learn more about Tchaikovsky and performances of the Nutcracker in San Antonio, plus a quartet from the San Antonio Symphony play some holiday music for an outreach program.

See them in action below!

SA Sym: Silent Night from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.

SA Sym: Little Drummer Boy from John Clare on Vimeo.

SA Sym: Rudolf from John Clare on Vimeo.

SA Sym: Feliz Navidad from John Clare on Vimeo.

And some pictures from last Friday at the Bexar County Correctional Facility.

Mary Ellen Goree, Allyson Dawkins, Eugene Dowdy & Ken Freudigman

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

John's Top Violinists 2009

These are my top ten picks for violin albums that came out in 2009 - host John Clare.

#10. Rachel Podger Haydn/Mozart (Channel Classics)

#9. Jessica Mathaes (pictured right) Suites & Sweets (Centaur)

#8. Rachel Barton Pine A German Boquet (Cedille)

#7. Mark O’Connor O’Connor (OMAC)

#6. Augustin Hadelich Bartok/Paganini/Ysaye/Zimmermann (Avie)

#5. Caroline Goulding Debut Album (Telarc)

#4. Julia Fisher Bach (Decca)

#3. Anne-Sophie Mutter Mendelssohn (DG)

#2. Gil Shaham Sarasate (Canary Classics)

#1 Janine Jansen (pictured left) Beethoven/Britten (Decca)

And watch out in 2010, Hilary Hahn has Bach this next month!

Of course, you should check out SIMPLE GIFTS at TPR dot org.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Musica Antiqua: Christmas Edition

Voci di Sorelle On the Air!
One hour of highlights from:
Exultate! Early Music of Christmas

“Under the direction of founder Ruth Moreland, the women scored a complete triumph through their focus, their clarity of voice, their impeccable diction and a purity of approach that had the grateful audience on its feet at the end.”
—John Griffin, Special to Kerrville Daily Times

On December 6th Voci di Sorelle presented “Exultate! Early Music of Christmas” to a full house at Mission San Jose. Portions of this exquisite concert will air in a special Christmas edition of Texas Public Radio’s weekly program, “Musica Antiqua.” Ruth Moreland joins host Gerald Self for an hour of this concert’s highlights.
Don't miss it, Wednesday, December 23, 9 p.m. on KPAC, 88.3 FM and KTXI, 90.1, online @

Thursday, December 17, 2009

If you build it, they will come

The Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation has chosen the joint venture of Houston-based Linbeck Group, LLC and San Antonio-based Zachry Construction Corporation (ZCC) as the team to provide pre-construction and construction manager-at-risk services. Linbeck/Zachry will work with the architectural design team to determine best practices for constructing the center, which will involve a combination of renovation and reconstruction of the historic Municipal Auditorium.

Linbeck/Zachry is responsible for recommending to the design team best processes, equipment and budget items that will allow for cost savings and timely completion of construction. Services will include a construction management plan and cost evaluation of best options for each building system, such as structure enclosure and architectural finishes. Linbeck/Zachry will also provide cost and quality control as well as develop and manage the construction schedule.

"While each of the final four finalists of these national/local teams of construction firms provided outstanding experience in building performing arts centers, Linbeck's overall experience in building the Bass Performance Hall in Ft. Worth among others, coupled with Zachry's experience and reputation for successfully completing many important San Antonio projects, guided our decision to select this Texas-based team," said J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., Chairman and President of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation. "We know the Linbeck/Zachry team shares our passion and commitment to make our performing arts center a new San Antonio icon of which we can all be proud."

"We are very excited about beginning discussions with the construction team to determine how we are going to build a one-of-a-kind performing arts venue," said Steven Q. Lee, Chairman of the Building Committee. "The Linbeck/Zachry team has great experience in building performing arts venues and a shared value system with the Foundation to not only build an exceptional facility but also be good stewards of financial resources. Their expertise will be critical as we begin to examine how we are going to get this facility built."

"We are excited to work on this project and look forward to working together with the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation to create a new facility which will forever transform San Antonio's performing arts 'stage'. Our people are passionate about projects that significantly impact our communities," said Charles Greco, Linbeck President and CEO.

"We fully understand the vision for the new performing arts facility and respect the critical role the new center will play in advancing San Antonio's performing arts capabilities," said David Zachry, President and CEO of ZCC.

The Linbeck/Zachry team share a combined 150-plus years of experience in Texas and have significant experience in working on both historically sensitive facilities and performing arts centers. Examples of Linbeck's experience include construction of the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall and Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth; the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas; the Nokia Live indoor theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas and the Marion D. Campbell Performing Arts Center in Massachusetts. Locally, Zachry has constructed the San Antonio River Improvement Museum Reach, the Medical Instructional Facilities that will be the cornerstone of Fort Sam Houston's new Medical Education Training Complex, the Westin Tower, the downtown Hilton Palacio del Rio Hotel and is currently building the Embassy Suites Hotel on the San Antonio Riverwalk.

On May 10, 2008, the voters of Bexar County approved the extension of the venue tax that will provide $100 million in funding for the Bexar County Performing Arts Center. With this public mandate, the Foundation will work to raise an additional $32 million in private funding to renovate the historic auditorium and adjacent Fire Headquarters building.

The new performing arts center will celebrate the unique character of an historic property while offering state-of-the-art acoustical interior design. With access to the San Antonio River, the Bexar County Performing Arts Center will be a gateway to cultural arts for residents and visitors alike.

The Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that is undertaking the renovation of the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium to build a world-class performing arts center for the citizens of South Texas. The Foundation owns the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium and the old San Antonio Fire Headquarters building, which together will function as the heart for San Antonio's cultural arts organizations. Upon completion of the renovations of the Municipal Auditorium, the Foundation will continue to own and operate the Municipal Auditorium and Fire Headquarters building as the newly transformed Performing Arts Center.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Music for the holidays

This is the time of year that you hear Christmas music whereever you go...I recently waited in line at the post office and heard carol after carol! Having worked in a retail music store in college, played the violin over 30 years, and worked in radio for over 15 years, I usually cringe at the thought of holiday music. I'm not a Grinch, but it takes alot to hear the same tunes over and over and over.

I do have a favorite album of Christmas songs though! I find it inventive and uplifting. The harmonies, orchestrations and performance is outstanding. It's called "A Christmas Treasure" with Julie Andrews and Andre Previn. The most recent incarnation for mp3 and cd is known as "Greatest Christmas Songs" with Julie Andrews and Andre Previn (that also has three pop songs).

These don't grow old, and make me smile. Not sure exactly, but it seems to me that in 1966 when they were recorded (43 years ago!) that both Previn and Andrews were in their prime. It definitely shows. You can hear selections on the links above, happy holidays!

Be sure to check out TPR staff selections for "Simple Gifts" here.
- KPAC Afternoon/Classical Spotlight Host John Clare

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

YOSA Podcast: Daron Hagen 4

This is the fourth podcast in a series for the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio...they perform the world premiere of Daron Hagen's Northern Lights, a fanfare in celebration of Troy Peters' first season as music director coming up in January 2010.

YOSA Podcast: Daron Hagen 4 from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.

Next for YOSA, it's a concert Wednesday, January 6, 2010 featuring cello students from the private studio of Ken Freudigman, principal cello of the San Antonio Symphony. Join us at 6:30pm for a night in downtown San Antonio at the Radius Center while you enjoy a free concert. The Studio Recital Series features six concerts on the first Wednesday of every month between November and April. Showcasing young musicians from the most advanced teaching studios in San Antonio, all concerts are open to the public and FREE.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Six grants ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 have been awarded to American Indian/Indigenous musical artist in the sixth round of grant making from First Nations Composer Initiative (FNCI), a program of ACF. The awards are made under the Common Ground Grant Program, generously funded with the support of the Ford Foundation’s IllumiNation portfolio.

FNCI is dedicated to serving the needs of American Indian/Alaska Native/First Nations/Indigenous makers of new music throughout Indian Country. FNCI is committed to supporting activities that build careers of Indigenous musicians, including commissions, residencies, performance and production, travel/study, and outreach.

Please join us in congratulating the following sixth round 2009 Common Ground grant recipients and feel free to visit their web pages:

Joy Harjo - (Mvskoke) New Mexico/Genre: Traditional. Funding to assist in the production of an original traditional music album. This musical project will be a series of honor songs. Songs will feature Native flutes, turtle shell and other traditional Mvskoke rattles as well as multiples voices both sung and spoken.

Shirley Kendall and Maria Williams - (Tlingit/Haida) Alaksa/Genre: Traditional. Funding to assist in developing both a written songbook and a DVD songbook based on Tlingit social songs. The idea behind the songbook is to provide the Tlingit song texts, the cultural contextual information, correct pronunciation and the clan history association with the songs.

Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Mestis/Cree-non status) Ontario/Genre: Contemporary/Multidisciplinary. Funding to assist in developing and creating an audio map of Cheryl’s journeys around Toronto by singing the urban landscape, animals, people and their activities.

Shelly Morning Song (Northern Cheyenne) New Mexico/Genre: Contemporary. Funding to assist with musician and producer fees for new album “Full Circle,” which will consist of songs that encourage healing, awareness and empowerment for the people.

Murray Porter (Mohawk) Vancouver BC/Genre: Blues. Funding to assist with musician fees, rehearsal and studio time, mixing and mastering expenses for CD recording project of 12 original blues songs.

Janet Rogers (Mohawk/Tuscarora) Victoria BC/Genre: Spoken Word. Funding to be used to assist with a tour plan for live performance of spoken word works accompanied by violinist Swil Kanim and cellist Cris Derksen and development of video component which will run simultaneously with performance.

It's beginning to look

alot like Christmas around the KPAC studios!
Kudos to Development Associate Pam Toth who made this wreath for us!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Go figure

It was oil and pine resin. There you go!
From the Australian:

It has long been suspected that the beauty of a Stradivarius violin was skin-deep, with its gleaming lacquer responsible for the instrument's supreme, bright sound.
But after years picking apart scraps of varnish taken from Stradivarius instruments, scientists have ruled out any secret ingredient as the key to the fiddles' superb timbre. They reveal that Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) applied two simple products in his workshop in northern Italy: oil and pine resin.

"There is no indication that allows us to say that the lacquer has an influence on the sound," says Jean-Philippe Echard, a chemical engineer at Paris's Museum of Music, which took part in the four-year study.

"There's been talk of fossil amber or propolis, which is produced by bees. But we haven't found any of these ingredients, which may have given the impression of something mysterious or rare."

Far from being a magic ingredient to make the instruments sing, the resin was more likely used to give them a rich colour.

"We also found red pigments in the varnish," says Echard.

The study was carried out on lacquer from five instruments -- four violins and a viola d'amore -- made over a period of 30 years. The chemists scrutinised the samples under infra-red light, identifying the two layers of varnish and their chemical composition.

"We have found that Stradivari employed and easily available components," the researchers wrote in their report, published by the journal Angewandte Chemie (Applied Chemistry). "He might not have possessed an unusual or `secret' ingredient, but he was an outstandingly skilled craftsman who had mastered the art of violin making."

Friday, December 4, 2009

YOSA Podcast: Daron Hagen 3

This is the third podcast in a series for the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio...they perform the world premiere of Daron Hagen's Northern Lights, a fanfare in celebration of Troy Peters' first season as music director coming up in January 2010.

YOSA Podcast: Daron Hagen 3 from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.

Coming up this weekend, it's the Junior Strings Series: Winter Delights on Sunday December 6th, at the Magik Theatre at 4 p.m.. Get in the holiday spirit with a concert featuring YOSA's Prelude and Capriccio Strings. Program includes 'Twas the Night Before Christmas! This concert is part of the Junior Strings Series which feature elementary and middle school performers; all concerts are free.

Beyond the Scratches

It was said that nobody played the music of Frederic Chopin like the composer himself. Pages and pages have tried to describe the experience of sitting in the artist's presence hearing the music as if it was played the first time. It is poor reasoning to think that just because we have the un-altered notes on paper that today's pianists play the music the way it was meant to be heard. I find it fascinating to hear the shift in fashions and musical trends of older recordings. Most of us prefer the "Original Artist" when it comes to Pop music, why not Classical? Hearing these 19th century pianists is the closest thing we have to time travel.

On the Piano a trip back in search of Chopin's authentic sound. Who knows you might like the 19th century more than you think. The Piano, this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host Randy Anderson

SA Sym: News on the Messiah

Word is out that John Silantien will conduct this weekends Messiah performances for the San Antonio Symphony...Ken David Masur was to lead, but with the birth of his new child, will be with his family! Congrats Ken David and Melinda!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Great example of Kaiser

Here is a perfect example of what Michael Kaiser was talking about yesterday in San Antonio, institutional marketing:
It's a story about oboists but it's also a great mention for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Bravo! All Orpheus did was invite a NY Times reporter to dinner. (Kaiser joked about food and the does work!)
Hear Kaiser himself at the San Pedro Playhouse in this entry.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Grammys Classical Style

Just announced!
Category 95:
Best Engineered Album, Classical
(An Engineer's Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.))

Britten: Billy Budd
Neil Hutchinson and Jonathan Stokes, engineers (Daniel Harding, Nathan Gunn, Ian Bostridge, Gidon Saks, Neal Davies, Jonathan Lemalu, Matthew Rose, London Symphony Chorus and London Symphony Orchestra)
[Virgin Classics]
Mahler: Symphony No. 8; Adagio From Symphony No. 10
Peter Laenger, engineer (Michael Tilson Thomas & San Francisco Symphony)
[SFS Media]
QSF Plays Brubeck
Judy Kirschner, engineer (Quartet San Francisco)
[Violinjazz Recordings]
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé
Jesse Lewis and John Newton, engineers (James Levine, Tanglewood Festival Chorus & Boston Symphony Orchestra)
[BSO Classics]
Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 15
John Newton and Dirk Sobotka, engineers (Valery Gergiev and Orchestra Of The Mariinsky Theatre)

Category 96
Producer Of The Year, Classical (A Producer's Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.))

Blanton Alspaugh
Carlson, David: Anna Karenina (Stewart Robertson, Christine Abraham, Sarah Colburn, Robert Gierlach, Christian Van Horn, Kelly Kaduce, Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra)
Menotti: Amahl And The Night Visitors; My Christmas (Alastair Willis, Ike Hawkersmith, Kirsten Gunlogson, Dean Anthony, Todd Thomas, Kevin Short, Bart LeFan, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Nashville Symphony Chorus and Nashville Symphony Orchestra)
Ravel: L'Enfant Et Les Sortilèges (Alastair Willis, Julie Boulianne, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Chattanooga Boys Choir, Nashville Symphony Chorus and Nashville Symphony Orchestra)
Schubert: Death And The Maiden (JoAnn Falletta and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra)
Sierra, Roberto: Missa Latina 'Pro Pace' (Andreas Delfs, Nathaniel Webster, Heidi Grant Murphy, Milwaukee Symphony Chorus and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra)

Steve Epstein
Adams: Doctor Atomic Symphony (David Robertson and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra)
Bernstein: Mass (Marin Alsop, Jubilant Sykes, Asher Edward Wulfman, Morgan State University Choir, Peabody Children's Chorus and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra)
Corigliano: A Dylan Thomas Trilogy (Leonard Slatkin, George Mabry, Sir Thomas Allen, Nashville Symphony Chorus and Nashville Symphony Orchestra)
Fauré: Piano Quintets (Fine Arts Quartet and Cristina Oritz)
Yo-Yo Ma and Friends: Songs Of Joy And Peace (Yo-Yo Ma and Various Artists)

John Fraser
Britten: Billy Budd (Daniel Harding, Nathan Gunn, Ian Bostridge, Gidon Saks, Neal Davies, Jonathan Lemalu, Matthew Rose, London Symphony Chorus and London Symphony Orchestra)
Midsummer Night (Kate Royal, Edward Gardner, Crouch End Festival Chorus and Orchestra Of English National Opera)
Schubert: Schwanengesang (Ian Bostridge and Antonio Pappano)
Shadows Of Silence (Leif Ove Andsnes, Franz Welzer-Möst and Sinfonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks)

David Frost
An American Journey (Eroica Trio)
Journey To The New World (Sharon Isbin, Mark O'Connor and Joan Baez)
Korngold: Violin Concerto; Schauspiel Overture; Much Ado About Nothing (Philippe Quint, Carlos Miguel Prieto and Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria)
Mozart: Piano Concertos 21 and 22 (Jonathan Biss and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra)
O'Connor, Mark: String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 (Ida Kavafian, Mark O'Connor, Paul Neubauer and Matt Haimovitz)

James Mallinson
MacMillan, James: St. John Passion (Sir Colin Davis, Christopher Maltman, London Symphony Chorus and London Symphony Orchestra)
Mahler: Symphony No. 8 (Valery Gergiev, Choir Of Eltham College, Choral Arts Society Of Washington, London Symphony Chorus and London Symphony Orchestra)
Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 15 (Valery Gergiev and Orchestra Of The Mariinsky Theatre)
Shostakovich: The Nose (Valery Gergiev, Andrei Popov, Sergei Semishkur, Vladislav Sulimsky, Chorus Of The Mariinsky Theatre and Orchestra Of The Mariinsky Theatre)
Field 28 — Classical

Category 97
Best Classical Album (Award to the Artist(s) and to the Album Producer(s) if other than the Artist.)

Bernstein: Mass
Marin Alsop, conductor; Jubilant Sykes; Steven Epstein, producer; Richard King, engineer/mixer (Asher Edward Wulfman; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Morgan State University Choir and Peabody Children's Chorus)
Mahler: Symphony No. 8; Adagio From Symphony No. 10
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Ragnar Bohlin, Kevin Fox and Susan McMane, choir directors; Andreas Neubronner, producer; Peter Laenger, engineer/mixer; Andreas Neubronner, mastering engineer (Laura Claycomb, Anthony Dean Griffey, Katarina Karnéus, Quinn Kelsey, James Morris, Yvonne Naef, Elza van den Heever and Erin Wall; San Francisco Symphony; Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Girls Chorus and San Francisco Symphony Chorus)
[SFS Media]
Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloé
James Levine, conductor; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer; Jesse Lewis and John Newton, engineers/mixers; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Boston Symphony Orchestra; Tanglewood Festival Chorus)
[BSO Classics]
Ravel: L'Enfant Et Les Sortilèges
Alastair Willis, conductor; Julie Boulianne; Blanton Alspaugh, producer; Mark Donahue and John Hill, engineers/mixers (Nashville Symphony Orchestra; Chattanooga Boys Choir, Chicago Symphony Chorus and Nashville Symphony Chorus)
Shostakovich: The Nose
Valery Gergiev, conductor; Andrei Popov, Sergei Semishkur and Vladislav Sulimsky; James Mallinson, producer; John Newton and Dirk Sobotka, engineers/mixers; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Orchestra Of The Mariinsky Theatre; Chorus Of The Mariinsky Theatre)

Category 98
Best Orchestral Performance (Award to the Conductor and to the Orchestra.)

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
Simon Rattle, conductor (Susan Graham; Berliner Philharmoniker)
[EMI Classics]
Bruckner: Symphony No. 5
Benjamin Zander, conductor (Philharmonia Orchestra)
Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloé
James Levine, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra; Tanglewood Festival Chorus)
[BSO Classics]
Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 15
Valery Gergiev, conductor (Orchestra Of The Mariinsky Theatre)
Szymanowski: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 4
Antoni Wit, conductor (Jan Krzysztof Broja, Ewa Marczyk and Marek Marczyk; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra)

Category 99
Best Opera Recording (Award to the Conductor, Album Producer(s) and Principal Soloists.)
Britten: Billy Budd
Daniel Harding, conductor; Ian Bostridge, Neal Davies, Nathan Gunn, Jonathan Lemalu, Matthew Rose and Gidon Saks; John Fraser, producer (London Symphony Orchestra; Gentlemen Of The London Symphony Chorus)
[Virgin Classics]
Messiaen: Saint François D'Assise
Ingo Metzmacher, conductor; Armand Arapian, Hubert Delamboye, Rod Gilfry, Henk Neven, Tom Randle and Camilla Tilling; Karin Elzendoorn, producer (The Hague Philharmonic; Chorus Of De Nederlandse Opera)
[Opus Arte]
Musto, John: Volpone
Sara Jobin, conductor; Lisa Hopkins, Joshua Jeremiah, Museop Kim, Jeremy Little, Rodell Rosel and Faith Sherman; Blanton Alspaugh, producer (Wolf Trap Opera Company)
[Wolf Trap Recordings]
Shostakovich: The Nose
Valery Gergiev, conductor; Andrei Popov, Sergei Semishkur and Vladislav Sulimsky; James Mallinson, producer (Orchestra Of The Mariinsky Theatre; Chorus Of The Mariinsky Theatre)
Tan Dun: Marco Polo
Tan Dun, conductor; Stephen Bryant, Sarah Castle, Zhang Jun, Nancy Allen Lundy, Stephen Richardson and Charles Workman; Ferenc van Damme, producer (Netherlands Chamber Orchestra; Cappella Amsterdam)
[Opus Arte]

Category 100
Best Choral Performance (Award to the Choral Conductor, and to the Orchestra Conductor if an Orchestra is on the recording, and to the Choral Director or Chorus Master if applicable.)
Handel: Coronation Anthems
Harry Christophers, conductor (Alastair Ross; The Sixteen Orchestra; The Sixteen)
Mahler: Symphony No. 8; Adagio From Symphony No. 10
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Ragnar Bohlin, Kevin Fox and Susan McMane, choir directors (Laura Claycomb, Anthony Dean Griffey, Elza van den Heever, Katarina Karnéus, Quinn Kelsey, James Morris, Yvonne Naef and Erin Wall; San Francisco Symphony; Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Symphony Chorus and San Francisco Girls Chorus)
[SFS Media]
Penderecki: Utrenja
Antoni Wit, conductor (Gennady Bezzubenkov, Iwona Hossa, Piotr Kusiewicz, Piotr Nowacki and Agnieszka Rehlis; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Warsaw Boys' Choir and Warsaw Philharmonic Choir)
Song Of The Stars: Granados, Casals and Blancafort
Dennis Keene, conductor (Erica Kiesewetter; Mark Kruczek and Douglas Riva; Voices Of Ascension)
A Spotless Rose
Paul McCreesh, conductor (The Gabrieli Consort)
[Deutsche Grammophon]

Category 101
Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) (Award to the Instrumental Soloist(s) and to the Conductor.)
Bartók: 3 Concertos
Pierre Boulez, conductor (Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer, Neil Percy, Tamara Stefanovich and Nigel Thomas; Berliner Philharmoniker and London Symphony Orchestra)
[Deutsche Grammophon]
Bermel, Derek: Voices For Solo Clarinet And Orchestra
Gil Rose, conductor; Derek Bermel (Boston Modern Orchestra Project)
Track from: Bermel, Derek: Voices
Korngold: Violin Concerto In D Major, Op. 35
Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor; Philippe Quint (Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineria)
Track from: Korngold Violin Concerto; Schauspiel Overture; Much Ado About Nothing
Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3
Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor; Evgeny Kissin (Philharmonia Orchestra)
[EMI Classics]
Salonen, Esa-Pekka: Piano Concerto
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor; Yefim Bronfman (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
Track from: Salonen
[Deutsche Grammophon]

Category 102
Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra) (Award to the Instrumental Soloist.)
Caroline Goulding -Caroline Goulding (Christopher O'Riley and Janine Randall)
Chopin -Maria João Pires
[Deutsche Grammophon]
Journey To The New World -Sharon Isbin (Joan Baez and Mark O'Connor)
[Sony Classical]
Oppens Plays Carter -Ursula Oppens
[Cedille Records]
Sonatas and Etudes -Yuja Wang
[Deutsche Grammophon]

Category 103
Best Chamber Music Performance (Award to the Artists.)
Ginastera: String Quartets (Complete) - Enso Quartet (Lucy Shelton)
The Hungarian Album - Guarneri Quartet
[RCA Red Seal]
Intimate Letters - Emerson String Quartet
[Deutsche Grammophon]
Schumann/Bartók: The Berlin Recital - Martha Argerich and Gidon Kremer
[EMI Classics]
Takemitsu, Toru: And Then I Knew 'Twas Wind - Yolanda Kondonassis, Cynthia Phelps and Joshua Smith
Track from: Debussy and Takemitsu: Air: Music For Harp, Flute and Strings

Category 104
Best Small Ensemble Performance (Award to the Ensemble (and to the Conductor.))
Bach: Orchestral Suites For A Young Prince
Monica Huggett, conductor; Gonzalo X. Ruiz; Ensemble Sonnerie
[Avie Records]
Josquin: Missa Malheur Me Bat
Peter Phillips, conductor; Tallis Scholars
Lang, David: The Little Match Girl Passion
Paul Hillier, conductor; Ars Nova Copenhagen and Theatre Of Voices
[Harmonia Mundi]
Song Of Songs
Stile Antico (Alison Hill and Benedict Hymas)
[harmonia mundi]
Vivaldi: Concertos
Daniel Hope and Anne Sofie von Otter; Chamber Orchestra Of Europe (Kristian Bezuidenhout)
[Deutsche Grammophon]

Category 105
Best Classical Vocal Performance (Award to the Vocal Soloist(s).)
Bach - Anne Sofie von Otter (Lars Ulrik Mortensen; Anders J. Dahlin, Jakob Bloch Jespersen, Tomas Medici and Karin Roman; Concerto Copenhagen)
[Deutsche Grammophon]
Bel Canto Spectacular - Juan Diego Flórez (Daniel Oren; Daniella Barcellona, Patrizia Ciofi, Plácido Domingo, Mariusz Kwiecien, Anna Netrebko and Fernando Piqueras; Orquestra De La Comunitat Valenciana; Cor De La Generalitat Valenciana)
Recital At Ravinia - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Drew Minter; Peter Serkin)
[Harmonia Mundi]
Un Frisson Français - Susan Graham (Malcom Martineau)
[Onyx Classics]
Verismo Arias - Renée Fleming (Marco Armiliato; Jonas Kaufmann; Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano Giuseppi Verdi; Coro Sinfonica Di Milano Giuseppi Verdi)

Category 106
Best Classical Contemporary Composition - (A Composer's Award. (For a contemporary classical composition composed within the last 25 years, and released for the first time during the Eligibility Year.) Award to the librettist, if applicable.)
Crumb, George: The Winds Of Destiny
George Crumb (James Freeman)
Track from: Crumb: American Songbooks 2 and 4
[Bridge Records]
Higdon, Jennifer: Percussion Concerto
Jennifer Higdon (Marin Alsop)
Track from: Alsop Conducts MacMillan, Adès, and Higdon
[London Philharmonic Orchestra]
Pärt, Arvo: In Principio
Arvo Pärt (Tõnu Kaljuste)
Track from: Pärt, Arvo: In Principio
[ECM New Series]
Sierra, Roberto: Missa Latina 'Pro Pace'
Roberto Sierra (Andreas Delfs)
Wyner, Yehudi: Piano Concerto "Chiavi In Mano"
Yehudi Wyner (Robert Spano)
Track from: Wyner, Yehudi: Orchestral Works
[Bridge Records]

Category 107
Best Classical Crossover Album - (Award to the Artist(s) and/or to the Conductor.)
A Company Of Voices: Conspirare In Concert
Craig Hella Johnson, conductor; Conspirare (Tom Burritt, Ian Davidson and Bion Tsang)
[Harmonia Mundi]
Paquito D'Rivera Quintet (Trio Clarone)
[TIMBA Records]
The Melody Of Rhythm
Leonard Slatkin, conductor; Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer (Detroit Symphony Orchestra)
[E1 Music]
QSF Plays Brubeck
Quartet San Francisco
[Violinjazz Recordings]
Twelve Songs By Charles Ives
Theo Bleckmann; Kneebody
[Winter and Winter]
Yo-Yo Ma and Friends: Songs Of Joy And Peace
Yo-Yo Ma (Odair Assad, Sergio Assad, Chris Botti, Dave Brubeck, Matt Brubeck, John Clayton, Paquito d'Rivera, Renée Fleming, Diana Krall, Alison Krauss, Natalie McMaster, Edgar Meyer, Cristina Pato, Joshua Redman, Jake Shimabukuro, Silk Road Ensemble, James Taylor, Chris Thile, Wu Tong, Alon Yavnai and Amelia Zirin-Brown)
[Sony Classical]

Thanks to Dr. Dick for the lead!

The Arts in Crisis?

Michael Kaiser spoke in San Antonio today. I've never heard such a delightful optimist make arts management and marketing sound so easy. He has an amazing track record and gave sound advice:
1. Plan ahead - way ahead! Minimum of 3 years, try to be 5 years out.
2. Talk about success and excitement, not about trouble and dispair.
3. Take risks, don't cut programming.
4. Be frugal, cut corners - but never do so at the expense of your mission/programming.
5. Don't just push for the next event/concert, but be in the public eye for what you do, not just specifics.
6. Have a board that is engaged and always focus on what you do at each meeting (if its a ballet company, have some dancers; an orchestra - a musical performance, etc etc)
7. Board members should keep up their support (in whatever manner your nonprofit has set in the bylaws) and should be the cheerleaders for your group - inspire them and they will inspire others!
8. Talk to your audience and get to know them, let them know as much about your organization. Kaiser gave an example of an audience member who had given $50 yearly, then once $500, came to a donor party, giving $5000, and then went to $500000 and now at a 1 million dollar gift, just from to your audience and supporters!
These are a few points - and are not as refined as Mr. Kaiser, but are some of the highlights of the morning. Here is a short excerpt of the talk:

His talk will be available in the future from KSTX and the NewsMaker Hour with Ernie Villareal.

SA Sym: Toys

The San Antonio Symphony will host a toy drive to benefit the San Antonio Police Department Blue Santa Program during the Holiday Pops weekend (December 18-20, 2009). Patrons attending either the Holiday Pops concert at Municipal Auditorium on December 18 & 19 or the Family Holiday Celebration at Trinity University on December 20 are asked to donate a new, unwrapped toy to the Blue Santa Toy Drive. For each toy donated, the patron will receive a ticket voucher for future Pops or Family Series concerts.

The Toy Drive will begin at the Symphony’s Holiday Pops concerts at Municipal Auditorium on Friday and Saturday December 18 & 19, 2009 and will conclude at the Holiday Family Series concert on Sunday December 20, 2009 at Trinity University’s Laurie Auditorium. In addition to the concert, patrons may enjoy interactive activities beginning one hour prior to each performance including instrument making workshops, an instrument “petting zoo,” and a free family photo session with photographer Greg Harrison.

“The Symphony looks forward to this fun and charitable event,” says President and CEO Jack Fishman, “connecting our Holiday Concerts and the Police Department’s Blue Santa toy drive is a natural. We hope we can make it easy for our audiences to donate lots of toys to this wonderful cause.”

According to the SAPD, the Blue Santa Program “provides an excellent opportunity for our officers to show they care about the community in which they serve.” After the unwrapped toys are collected the SAPD will distribute the toys to needy families in the community.

This is only one of many donation drives the San Antonio Symphony will host this season. Already the Symphony raised a record 200 packages of diapers (approximately 7,500 individual diapers) to benefit the Children’s Shelter. The Symphony will sponsor many more charitable events throughout the season.

Blue Santa began with the San Antonio Police Department back in 1976 when officers began proving assistance to the underprivileged of San Antonio. SAPD Officers would identify families in need during their routine calls. The San Antonio Police Officers began accepting Blue Santa applications from November 1, 2009 through midnight on December 1, 2009. Each of the six Police substations will be accepting the applications. Last year the Blue Santa program was able to help approximately 3800 families and 11,518 children.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Composer Award

"Spheres," a six-movement work for orchestra by German composer York Hoeller, has earned the 2010 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition.
The piece, chosen from among 136 entries worldwide, was performed for the first time in 2008 by the West German Broadcasting Corp.’s symphony orchestra in Cologne, Germany.
“The work grips you viscerally from the first bars and never lets up,” said Marc Satterwhite, a UofL music professor who directs the award.
The 40-minute, six-movement piece was inspired by literature, music of the past and the elements of air, water, earth and fire from Greek philosophy, Satterwhite said. Hoeller, who spent five years composing the work, dedicated the last movement “with love and gratitude” to his wife, Ursula, who died in 2006.
“The piece is magnificently scored, using a large orchestra to generate colors ranging from the most delicate to the most overwhelming,” Satterwhite said.
Hoeller, professor emeritus of music composition at the Cologne University of Music, is known for fusing together live and electronic sounds in his works. His compositions often incorporate references to romanticism and French-influenced orchestration along with modernist techniques.
“Spheres” is scheduled to be commercially released on CD in April by NEOS, a German company specializing in contemporary music recordings.
Five Grawemeyer Awards are presented annually for outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology, education and religion. Winners of the other 2010 Grawemeyer Awards also are being announced this week.

German composer York Hoeller is best known for fusing together live and electronic sounds and incorporating modernist techniques, references to romanticism and French-influenced orchestration into his works.
Born in Cologne in 1944, he was a music professor at Cologne University of Music, where he previously studied composition, electronics, piano and conducting. He studied philosophy and musicology at the University of Cologne.
His pieces for acoustical instruments and electronic media have been performed by major ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony, Ensemble InterContemporain in Paris and the London Sinfonietta and championed by eminent conductors such as Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez.
In the mid-1970s, he began composing at the Paris Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique, an organization devoted to avant garde electro-acoustical music. In 1990, after becoming director of West German Broadcasting Corp.’s electronic studio, he began developing “gestalt composition,” a method of writing music that orders one or more musical elements in a fixed series.
Hoeller’s 1989 opera, “Der Meister und Margarita,” which premiered at the Opera de Paris Palais Garnier, is based on a Russian novel by Mikhail Bulgakov about the devil’s visit to the Soviet Union. The same book also is said to have influenced Salman Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses” and inspired Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones to write “Sympathy for the Devil.” The six movements of Hoeller’s winning piece, “Spheres,” (“Sphaeren” in German) are “Song of the Clouds,” “Wind Chime,” “Layers of Earth,” “Rain Canon,” “Fireworks” and “Mourning of the Spheres.”
Besides earning the Order des Arts et des Lettres from the French Minister of Culture in 1986, Hoeller has been a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin since 1991. He has received the Bernd Alois Zimmermann Prize from the City of Cologne, the Foerderpreis of the State of North Rhine–Westphalia, the Prize of the International Composers’ Forum of UNESCO and the Rolf Liebermann Prize for Opera Composers.
Boosey & Hawkes, an international company specializing in 20th century classical music, publishes his work, including his Grawemeyer Award-winning orchestral piece.

The Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, given since 1985, previously has gone to musical luminaries Witold Lutoslawski, Gyorgy Ligeti and Pierre Boulez. (From the Grawmeyer website)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Classical Spotlight: USAF Band of the West

Recently TPR's John Clare spent some time with members of the USAF Band of the West at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. (Pictured left is Clare with Tsgt Steve Wilson.)
Listen to the news story here. (mp3 file)

Now, members of the unit are deployed overseas. Enjoy this performance with Top Flight, the pop music ensemble from the Band of the West:

USAF Band of the West: Top Flight from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.

Clare also spoke with the commander of the band, Captain Cristina Moore Urrutia. Watch their interview:

Classical Spotlight: Capt. Urrutia from John Clare on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

SAVAE at 20 - by James Baker

About 8 months ago a committee was formed to study the possibility of presenting a series of concerts in San Antonio featuring music of Colonial New Spain. Vitally interested in the project were Father Larry Christian, Rector of the Assumption Seminary, and Renata Furst, Director of Studies at the Seminary. When they asked me how we should begin the answer came easily. Let's invite SAVAE, the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble. Little did we realize it at the time, but through the magic of serendipity we scheduled the SAVAE concert on what turns out to be the exact 20th anniversary of the ensemble's first concert on December 4, 1989, at the San Fernando Cathedral. Needless to say, we are all thrilled to be part of this anniversary concert by SAVAE which will also serve as the inaugural event of the Celebrating Latin American Arts Series (CLAAS).

SAVAE has traveled several musical roads, but their track always seems to bring them back to Colonial Latin America. This is where they made their first mark and it is certainly music to which they bring passion and authority. In speaking recently to Covita and Christopher Moroney, two of the founders of SAVAE, I found that they have been intentional in staking claim to a certain repertory, a music which speaks more directly from the New World than through the filter of European musical styles. Their performances reflect this bias through the numerous folkloric and indigenous instruments which they bring to the stage. According to the Moroneys, they typically bring about 30 instruments to their programs. These punctuate and accompany the various Latin, Spanish, Nahuatl and Quechua texts which reflect the concious effort of the Catholic Church to invite the New World to meet and mingle with the Old World.

SAVAE's concert will kick off a multi-year project in San Antonio called the Celebrating Latin American Arts Series. Future concerts will take place in a variety of venues, including Mission Conception in 2010. This first concert, however, is in a relatively new space, one which mimics the stone and mortar construction of the traditional Spanish missions of the Southwestern United States. The Assumption Seminary's Chapel was designed by the maverick San Antonio architect O'Neil Ford. More about this relatively unknown work of Ford in a future post to this blog.

SAVAE's anniversary concert will take place Friday, December 4, at the Assumption Seminary Chapel, 2600 W. Woodlawn, just West of Woodlawn Park. The concert is free and open to the public. Ample free parking is available. The concert begins at 7:30 pm, with a reception following the concert.

This concert is sponsored by MATT (Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together), and is presented in cooperation with Old Spanish Missions, Inc., San Antonio Institute of Catholic Cultures and KPAC, 88.3.

Itinerarios, airing on KPAC Sunday evening at 7, will this week feature the interview with Covita and Christopher Moroney while also previewing parts of SAVAE's December 4th concert.

Monday, November 23, 2009

AFSA Awards

The Artist Foundation of San Antonio, which gives grants to individual artists, is giving $62,000 this year, the fourth for the awards. More than 160 artists applied and eleven were selected to receive $5,000 each. Most of the awards are given for specific projects, except the George Cortes Award for Classical Singing, which recognizes opera-based vocal ability. Soprano Angela Malek will receive it this year.

$5,000 grants will go to:

Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Set Design: Steve Gilliam for his work on the Allegro Stage Company's musical “Fire on the Bayou,” opening Jan. 29 at the Woodlawn Theatre.

Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Costume Design: Jodi Karjala for costumes for AtticRep's staging of “Lydia,” opening Dec. 2.

Bernard Lifshutz Award for Visual Arts: Photographer Ansen Seale for a long-range project dealing with transferring images onto glass.

Rick Liberto Award for Visual Arts: Randy Wallace for the mixed-media project “The Thirty Days and Fifty Thousand Words.”

Literary Arts Award: Poet Pablo Miguel Martinez for a book-length piece based on the stories of Mexican guest workers.

Media Arts Award: Visual artist Julia Barbosa Landois for a multimedia installation.

Visual Arts Award: Artist Judith Cottrell for an installation built around her sculptural drawings.

Performing Arts — Original Production Award: Director Tim Hedgepeth for “Fire on the Bayou.”

Performing Arts — Musical Composition: Composer Timothy Kramer for a choral cycle dealing with Old Testament text.

Performing Arts — Dance Choreography: Britt Lorraine, for a personal, minimalist turn on the Ballet Russe's 1913 “Rite of Spring.”

Artist Interview: Walden Chamber Players

The Walden Chamber Players were in town as part of their residency with Trinity University...they sat down with John Clare for an interview. Professor Carl Leafstedt also joined the talk, who coordinated the visit!

They also played a selection from their program, Saariaho's I feel a second heart:

Friday, November 20, 2009

He was born for it

As she lay dying St. Cecilia sang out to the Lord and that is the reason given that she is the patron saint of musicians. Her feast day is November 22nd and for this occasion a number of British composers wrote Ode's in honor of Cecilia and music in general.

Another reason to mark St. Cecilia's Day is it is the birthdate of Benjamin Britten. Considered the finest British composer since Purcell, he wrote a great deal of music for the stage, but he was also a great pianist and on the Piano this Sunday the program celebrates Britten's birthday by exploring his thorny Piano Concerto.

The Piano, this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host, Randy Anderson

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Conductor in national spotlight

Alondra de la Parra, music driector candidate for the San Antonio Symphony, recently conducted the world renowned San Francisco Symphony in concerts. During her time there, she was interviewed by NPR's Latino USA (heard locally on KSTX & KTXI Fridays at noon & 8pm).

Alondra de la Parra from NPR's Latino USA on Vimeo.

Friday, November 13, 2009

That is Mr. Footnote to you!

In the arts cream rises to the top and this process is moved along by teachers, academics and Nielsen ratings. Soon we end up with a shorthand view of the world, "Mozart was a perfect musical machine" "Beethoven is the greatest musical architect" and "Bach is the greatest musician of all time"- certainly interesting opinions, but what about the thousands and thousands of serious musicians that don't fall into these tidy boxes? These folks are relegated into footnote status, and there live in a silent limbo until some curious musician digs into the music and gives voice to what was popular long ago.

On the Piano this Sunday we dig into the past and hear the dramatic and melodic music of a man who possessed a true musical gift, learned from the most interesting teachers of his time and passed on that knowledge to a few generations of musicians to follow. Is this a wasted life; hardly. This Sunday afternoon at 5 works of Anton Arensky elevated from footnote status on KPAC and KTXI.

host, Randy Anderson

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Classical Spotlight: Everything @ once

Lots of concerts on this weekend, and many of them at the same time, Sunday afternoon @ 3pm!

The San Antonio Brass play Friday night in Kerrville, and Sunday afternoon @ 2pm in San Antonio. More on their website, and an interview with Lee Hipp on the TPR website.

Antonio Barasorda, tenor, will visit and serenade San Antonians Sunday, November 15th, at 3pm, at the Charline McCombs Empire Theater for the Puerto Rican Heritage Society's 25th Anniversary. Barasorda, visiting the area for the first time, will sing varied repertoire of Latin American popular songs, as well as songs from zarzuelas, operettas, operas, Broadway musicals and bohemias. Listen to his interview here.

Sunday, November 15 at 3 p.m. at Coker United Methodist Church, the "Arts at Coker" series presents the woodwind trio ETA3 in a FREE concert.

Sunday, November 15 at 3 p.m. at Travis Park United Methodist Church violinist Karen Stiles and pianist Vivienne Spy will offer Camerata San Antonio's recital. Listen to their interview here.

The San Antonio Symphonic Band, under the direction of conductor, Dr. Donald K. Miller, will be performing it’s first concert of the 2009-2010 series on Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. at UTSA Downtown Campus, Buena Vista Theater followed by a second performance on Sunday, November 15, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. at the same location. A guest appearance by The Black Bexar Pipe Band will be made during the performance. Program theme: Across The Pond.

Heart of Texas Concert Band plays "Symphonic Songs For Band" this Sunday at 3:00pm with Heather Blount, Soprano Soloist at Alamo Heights High School. Mark Rogers directs, and you can listen to his interview here.

Please note, the Texas Bach Choir concerts scheduled for this weekend November 14th and 15th have been canceled. They are now without an Artistic Director as Daniel Long, who served with TBC since 1990 has resigned.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Still making beautiful music together

Despite a divorce, Gheorghiu & Alagna are stellar in this new release!

Alberto Veronesi conducts Pietro Mascagni’s rarely performed opera L’amico Fritz starring soprano Angela Gheorghiu and tenor Roberto Alagna, on a new recording to be released by Deutsche Grammophon next Tuesday, November 17, 2009. The album was recorded in 2008 during acclaimed live performances at Deutsche Oper Berlin which were called “a rare musical treat” by Das Opernglas, and for which wrote: “The soloists gave of their phenomenal best and the orchestra under Veronesi played sensationally...I can't recall the last time I heard such enthusiastic (and prolonged) applause at the Deutsche Oper.”

L’amico Fritz is Mascagni’s second opera; a light-hearted follow-up to his popular Cavalleria rusticana. The opera tells the story of Fritz (Alagna), a wealthy landowner and confirmed bachelor who falls for Suzel (Gheorghiu), the young daughter of one of his tenants, and includes The Cherry Duet (“Suzel, buon di”) – a love duet considered the best known piece from the opera which has long been part of Alagna and Gheorghiu’s repertoire. The cast on the recording is rounded out by Laura Polverelli as the gypsy boy Beppe, a rare trouser role for the time period, George Petean as David, Yosep Kang as Federico, Hyung-Wook Lee as Hanezó and Andión Fernández as Caterina.

PT: Five Browns

Check out Performance Today today (November 11th) who feature KPAS' presentation of the Five Browns last May in Kerrvile! And we thought you might enjoy this Rimsky-Korsakov they played as well:

Hear him in San Antonio

Great news about Olmos Ensemble member Warren Jones...well he is here every year, so he really is considered a member of Mark Ackerman's group:

Musical America, now in its third century as the indispensable resource for the performing arts, today announced the winners of the annual Musical America Awards, recognizing artistic excellence and achievement in the arts.

The announcement coincides with the publication of the 2010 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts, which, in addition to its comprehensive industry listings, pays homage to each of these artists in its editorial pages.

The annual Musical America Awards will be presented in a special ceremony at Lincoln Center on December 14.

Warren Jones compares partnering soloists to playing doubles tennis because the endeavor has to be an equal relationship. Few collaborative pianists—a term now preferred to “accompanist”—have enhanced the performances of so many of the world’s greatest singers and instrumentalists. Among those benefitting from his nuanced, insightful, and virtuosic artistry are Marilyn Horne, Kathleen Battle, Samuel Ramey, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Stephanie Blythe. In soprano Ruth Ann Swenson’s words, “He’s one of the greatest musicians I’ve ever known. I trust him
See Warren this next Spring:
March 16, 2010
Four Hands, Four Voices
Anne Epperson, and Warren Jones, piano,
Linda Poetschke, soprano, Ken David Masur, baritone
mezzo soprano and tenor TBA

Franz Schubert, Auf dem Strom
Franz Schubert, Fantasie for piano, four hands
Johannes Brahms, Liebeslieder Waltzes

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

20 de Noviembre on Itinerarios

When I first moved to Mexico City in the early 1980s I was astonished to find not one, but two holidays celebrating revolution in Mexico. Diez y seis de Septiembre celebrates the break with Spain, but it is Veinte de Noviembre whose scars are still found on the Mexican landscape. That’s when a president was overthrown, plunging Mexico into 10 years of chaos, from 1910 to 1920. This week on Itinerarios we will echo some of the patriotic music which will resonate across Mexico on the 20th of November. Listen in for Sones de Mariachi and much more Sunday evening at 7 o’clock.

Yes, Mexico City can be a difficult city. Its population hovers near 20 million, if not more, it’s polluted; there’s gridlock and crime, though probably not as much as we are led by the media to believe. Yes, you can get a roaring headache in Mexico City without taking even a drop of alcohol. The elevation is over 7 thousand feet. And you can become sick as a dog when you drink the water or eat tacos from the wrong sidewalk vendor.

That said, I love Mexico City. It is a place of extraordinary architecture and to see Avenida Reforma at night is to have your breath taken away. El Ángel de la Independencia ("The Angel of Independence"), anchors the grand glorietta (traffic circle) at Reforma and Florencia. This was put in place in 1910, just as Mexico slipped into 10 years of revolutionary tumult.

Another of my favorite public monuments is the Monumento a la Revolución (the Monument of the Revolution), an edifice begun just as the presidency of Porfirio Diaz was coming unwound. Originally destined to be the Legislative Palace, the construction stalled as Mexico plunged into internal turmoil. It is ironic that this structure, proudly begun by President Diaz, would eventually come to represent the Revolution which overthrew the Diaz regime. This, by the way, became the final resting place of the rebel Pancho Villa.

YOSA Podcast 2, Daron Hagen

This is the second podcast in a series for the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio...they perform the world premiere of Daron Hagen's Northern Lights, a fanfare in celebration of Troy Peters' first season as music director coming up in January 2010.

YOSA Podcast: Daron Hagen 2 from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.

YOSA features a studio recital "Flute with Students of Tal Perkes", Wednesday, December 2, 2009 @ 6:30 p.m. in the Radius Center. Also, their Junior Strings Series: Winter Delights is December 06, 2009 in Magik Theatre @ 4 p.m.. Get in the holiday spirit with a concert featuring YOSA's Prelude and Capriccio Strings. Program includes 'Twas the Night Before Christmas with guest narrator Rosenda Rios from KSAT 12. This concert is part of the Junior Strings Series which feature elementary and middle school performers; all concerts are free.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Own your very own

The American Music Center is having an auction, check it out online:
It includes everything to vacations, to a recital by Jennifer Koh for you and your friends (she was just here in San Antonio playing Prokofiev) and autographs of composers like Robert Xavier Rodriguez, John Corigliano and many more.

On the comeback

Good news about Liona Boyd, from the Globe & Mail:
The virtuoso guitarist has faced down a painful neurological disorder to emerge with a new career: singer-songwriter. Here is the whole article.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Power of the piano

I was quite touched about this story involving Andre Watts from ArtsJournal:

When Doug McLennan asked me to write this blog, he told me that the most
successful ones connect the writing to the experiences the blogger has in daily
life. I write about building arts communities, and for several weeks I've been
thinking that the following story should be told. It certainly grows out of real
life, and the lives involved are close to me and involve a musician whose
artistry is legendary.
Last April my brother, Jim, copied an e mail he had
sent to the great pianist, Andre Watts. Since it says everything better than I
possibly could, I'll just let the letter tell the story:
Dear Mr. Watts,
For years our family has admired you, the gift of musical talent you have
been given, and the obvious discipline you have followed to develop and maintain
your skills. Your music has touched the hearts of many people, but you have
touched the hearts and lives of our family in a special way.
Our family is
deeply indebted to you because of an episode of Mr. Rogers you taped. I have a
daughter (Jamie) who is 29 years old and is severely disabled and profoundly
retarded. She has had many challenges; among them was the desire to eat. For
years, Jamie did not want to eat and we struggled at every mealtime to feed her.
Early on, we discovered that music either distracted her or stimulated her and
so we began playing music as she would eat her food.

Take a moment out to read the entire letter and story here. I've had the good fortune to hear Watts play several times, and remember as a teenager seeing his 25th anniversary concert on tv. Just a few years ago I saw Andre play with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the summer, Beethoven's Emperor Piano Concerto on the same program as Penderecki's Second Symphony, with the composer himself conducting. While Charles Dutoit was leading the rest of the program, it was interesting to see Watts and Penderecki interact during the rehearsal.
Have you been moved by a performer or performance? Got a story to share about Watts or classical music? Pass it along in the comments!
And don't forget about the Piano Sunday afternoon at 5pm on KPAC & KTXI!

- Afternoon host John Clare

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Classical Spotlight: Guy Fawkes Day

Lots of great music ahead to enjoy this weekend!
Music for recorder trio: 17 short pieces and one major sonata, assisted by David Eaton playing on a virginal and on the big St. Luke's organ, as well. The concert begins at 5:00 this coming Saturday afternoon, Nov. 7, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, the concert is free and open to the public.

November 8th, 2009
Shanghai String Quartet
Haydn: String Quartet in D Major, Op. 20, No. 4
Yi-Wen Jiang: Chinasong (Chinese folk songs)
Penderecki: String Quartet No. 3 - Leaves from an Unwritten Diary
Debussy: String Quartet in G minor. Op. 10
Temple Beth-El 3:15 PM

New YOSA Music Director Troy Peters makes his San Antonio debut in a concert celebrating YOSA's upcoming 8th International Tour, "The Great Tour of China," departing June 2010. Hear music from across four continents with pieces that evoke Africa, old Europe, the New World and Asia. Travel assistance provided by San Antonio Symphony principal tuba Lee Hipp in the form of Vaughn Williams' exciting concerto.
Trinity University's Laurie Auditorium 4 p.m. Students and children FREE.
Li Huanzhi: Spring Festival Overture
Smetana: The Moldau
Vaughan Williams: Tuba Concerto, Lee Hipp soloist
Jose Elizondo: Estampas Mexicanas
Saint-Saens: Algerian Suite, Op. 60

Schweitzer & Bach
Tues. November 10
Presentation: 6-8 PM
Open Cast Party: 8-9 PM
Health Science Center Auditorium
7703 Floyd Curl Dr.
Words of Schweitzer & the Music of Bach
Join the Center on November 10 to remember and honor Dr. Albert Schweitzer, a deep thinker, an accomplished musician, a sensitive healer and a generous soul.
Commemorating the 60th anniversary of Schweitzer’s visit to America!
This original multimedia musical dramatization, written and produced by Thurston Moore, brings the importance of Schweitzer's philosophy and work to life. The 267 images shown on the screen from the beginning to the end of the 90-minute drama are a chronicle of his life from birth through his days of scholarship and intellectual quest, culminating in his actualization as a medical missionary deep in the forests of French Equatorial Africa where he founded the Lambaréné Hospital and discovered his philosophy of reverence for life.
Featuring Dr. Richard Lange as Albert Schweitzer, with live music by David Eaton, UTSA and David Heller, Trinity organists.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Keeping Score on demand

Coinciding with the current PBS telecasts of the second season of the San Francisco Symphony’s Keeping Score documentary series hosted by Michael Tilson Thomas, the orchestra is releasing on CD concert performances of all of the works featured in the series. The CDs include Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Ives’s Holidays Symphony paired with Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, Stravinsky’s Firebird and selections from The Rite of Spring, Beethoven’s Eroica and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

These CDs are in addition to the orchestra’s releases of all Keeping Score documentaries and performances on DVD, as well as the Season 2 documentaries and performances on Blu-Ray. The Season 2 Keeping Score documentaries, currently airing on PBS stations across the country (check local listings), explore the music and stories behind Hector Berlioz’s symphonic love letter Symphonie fantastique, Charles Ives’s sonic portrait of New England in his Holidays Symphony, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, a work that may have saved his life.

In addition, PBS is making all Keeping Score documentary episodes available for free on-demand.. The new Season 2 episodes (Berlioz, Ives, and Shostakovich), as well as previous Keeping Score documentaries on Beethoven, Copland, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky can be viewed on demand at

YOSA: Podcast 1 Hagen

This is the first podcast in a series for the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio...they perform the world premiere of Daron Hagen's Northern Lights, a fanfare in celebration of Troy Peters' first season as music director coming up in January 2010.

YOSA Podcast: Daron Hagen 1 from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.

YOSA plays their first concert under the direction of Troy Peters this Sunday afternoon @ 4pm in Laurie Auditorium.

Sing a long

RUSH HOUR BIG SING – Come sing with Conspirare!
Thursday, November 12
5:30 p.m.
St. Martin's Lutheran Church, 606 W. 15th St.
Admission is FREE!

Conspirare is excited to present its inaugural Rush Hour Big Sing – a free community event where the audience is the choir! Conspirare's acclaimed artistic director Craig Hella Johnson will lead the gathering in breathing exercises, vocal warm-ups, and short, melodic songs that can be easily learned. Conspirare Symphonic Choir members will sit among the audience to sing along and provide musical support and encouragement during the one-hour event.

The concert is open to all – no musical background required. Through this no-pressure group sing, you'll learn basic vocal technique, experience the body as an instrument, and sing as one with hundreds of others. If you've ever dreamed of singing under the direction of a world-renowned conductor, this is your opportunity – and your friends' and coworkers'. Get off the road at rush hour and join us for a relaxed, fun experience. No ticket needed – see you there!

Monday, November 2, 2009

KPAC Listener's TOP 100

89 MOZART Marriage of Figaro
86 MOZART Ave verum corpus