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.

Ways To Connect

Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin. TL1999.244.7

And now we come to fifth and final program in the series The Tobin Collection: A Musical Vision. It has been quite an adventure of learning about this wonderful resource here in our midst. I'm speaking of The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts at San Antonio's McNay Art Museum. It is the crown jewel of Robert Tobin's lifelong passion for theatre, and for collecting theatre arts. The collection is wide-ranging, but in the aggregate it becomes apparent that Robert Tobin's greatest interest was in opera.

Paul de Hauck / The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.

I still remember the day Leonard Bernstein died, just as I remember the feeling of loss the day Miles Davis passed, or the Sunday morning in Mexico City when I heard the news that Herbert von Karajan had died. These musicians were important, not just to me, but to the world, and it's why so many still preface their remarks about Bernstein with: “I can't believe it's been this long.” As I write this, it has been almost a quarter century.

Who is today's Birthday Bard? Why, it's William Shakespeare! In truth, his birth date is rather hazy. Nevertheless, April 23, 1564, is when the BBC celebrates it, and that's good enough for me. However, to keep all bases covered, his baptism record shows the date April 26th on it.

Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin, TL1998.109. / © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris

All the Rage in Paris: Diaghilev's Ballets Russes is currently on display at The McNay. It is a reflection of the richness of The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts and the keen eye of Tobin curator Jody Blake. The exhibition reflects one of the most fertile artistic experiments ever, the 20 year residency of Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Paris.

The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, at San Antonio's McNay Art Museum, is regarded by many to be the most important collection of its kind in the country. In addition to the thousands of volumes of rare and essential books, there are thousands more pieces of visual art in the form of costume, scene, and stage designs, most of them with a musical pedigree. How did such a collection come about? Tobin Collection curators Linda Hardberger and Jody Blake give us some clues.

Watch the video slide show here:

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