James Baker

Producer

James first introduced himself to KPAC listeners at midnight on April 8, 1993, presenting Dvorak's 7th Symphony played by the Cleveland Orchestra. Soon after, he became the regular overnight announcer on KPAC.

If pressed to describe himself, James will say he is a musician who hosted classical music.  For over 40 years, he has worked as a professional French horn player, holding posts in the Austin Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico, Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, and Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa, the oldest orchestra in Mexico.  He has held the Principal Horn position in the Mid Texas Symphony for the past 20 years.

James also is an avid marathoner.  Look for him running the streets of San Antonio with his three rescued border collies.

James was the long-time host of Itinerarios, a weekly program of music with Latin-American roots, Listener's Choice, KPAC's request show, and for over 10 years co-hosted with Ron Moore Alternate Routes, KPAC's program of contemporary music.

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Arts & Culture
11:14 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Hubble Space Telescope: The Skies Beyond Holst's "The Planets"

Andromeda galaxy as photographed by Hubble Space Telescope
Credit NASA

  

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Opinion
10:28 am
Thu January 15, 2015

What I Think About When I Hear Richard Strauss' "Salome"

Patricia Racette (Salome) & Alan Held (Jochanaan) in Opera San Antonio's Salome
Credit Karen Almond

For years now, I keep coming back to a jazz composition by composer/jazz educator and good friend Dick Goodwin. He wrote the piece back when I first got to know him, in the late '60s, calling it “What I Think About When I Hear 'Bye, Bye, Blackbird.'” It's funny how utilitarian the concept is: “What I Think About When I Hear Beethoven 5th,” or “Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Scheherazade.'” Or what about the visual?

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Holiday Programming
12:50 am
Fri December 19, 2014

The Carols Of Alfred Burt On KPAC

Burt Family Christmas card

Oh my! The tears still flow, tears of joy tinged with sadness, as I prepare for yet another broadcast of "The Carols of Alfred Burt: A Legacy of Love." I first produced this program in 1997, prompted by my good friend Bill Ginn, who had been familiar with the 15 contemporary carols by Alfred Burt for a number of years. Bill had arranged several of these precious carols for both brass and woodwind quintets that I played with. "Tell me more about this music," I asked of Bill.

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Arts & Culture
7:10 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Cloud Illusions: Intimate Impressionism On KPAC

van Gogh: Flower Beds in Holland
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

It was Joni Mitchell who penned the lyric “it's cloud illusions I recall, I really don't know clouds at all.” I'm not sure why, but this song, "Both Sides Now," always comes into my mind when I turn my eyes toward the heavens to better see the clouds.

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Arts & Culture
3:28 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Intimate Impressionism In Music

Eugène Louis Boudin: "Beach at Trouville"
Credit Courtesy McNay Art Museum

  

It was originally a term of derision. When the art critic Louis Leroy published his satiric review of a newly made painting by Claude Monet, a work the artist titled “Impression: Sunrise,” he wrote:

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Remembrances
11:25 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Remembering Margaret Stapp, Who "Answered The Call"

Margaret Stapp, in December 2012.
Credit TPR

A longtime TPR volunteer, and instrumental element of KPAC’s birth in 1982, passed away on September 10, 2014. Margaret Stapp was 91. As the wife of KPAC founder Wilford Stapp, she was there at the beginning when the station signed on in November, 1982. For many years Margaret served as “pledge captain” during the twice yearly fund drives.

“She was extravagant in her commitment of time and her talent,” says Joe Gwathmey, TPR’s first General Manager.

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Books News & Features
8:49 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Barry Lopez: American Literary Icon

Barry Lopez
Credit David Liittschwager/Barry Lopez

"There is a way in which the arts serve humanity and are not just entertainment. That seems to be the drift at the moment, that the arts are there to entertain us, but that's not why human beings became dedicated artists. Even if they were driven by individual artistic vision, there's a social impulse behind the desire to create art." Barry Lopez

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Classical Music
4:03 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

New Year, New Discoveries From South America

As is so often the case, discoveries are made by the back way. I was browsing today the upcoming 2014 programming of the Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, conducted by my old acquaintance Enrique Arturo Diemecke. I saw many familiar composers, but a sprinkling of unknown, mostly Latin American composers as well. Esteban Benzecry, an Argentine musician, was among them. It was a new name to me, and new music--they're playing his Violin Concerto in Buenos Aires.

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Classical Music
11:31 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Mexican Classical Music: From The Known To The Unknown

La Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM, one of 5 full time professional orchestras in the greater Mexico City area.
Dirección General de Música, UNAM Wikimedia Commons

If there's one thing to be learned about classical music from Latin America, it's that there's much more there than one might imagine, especially if we only know of that proverbial tip of the iceberg, the scant amount of Latin American music which has trickled into American, European and Asian concert halls. When I first began producing my weekly radio program, “Itinerarios,” I began casting the net further and further into Latin America, hoping to keep new materials flowing in as fuel for the show.

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Arts & Culture
10:13 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Latin Grammys More Diverse Than Ever In 2013

Guitarist, composer, arranger Mario Adnet.
Credit Milton Montenegro

[This post has been edited from when it first went online to reflect some of the winners in this year's categories.]

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