James Baker

Producer, Host: Classics a la Carte

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. 

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

Ways to Connect

The current reprise of "The Art of American Popular Song" on KPAC, KTXI, and online at TPR.ORG is presented as a parallel to the current exhibition at the McNay Art Museum's Brown Gallery - "Broadway: 100 Years of Musical Theatre." This "video prelude," in three parts, focuses on intersections of the radio series and the McNay exhibit. The three short videos, preludes to The Art of Cole Porter,  spotlight artwork by Joseph Urban, Don Jensen, Rouben TerArutunian, and Martin Pakledinaz, all hanging at the McNay's Brown Gallery through June 18.

Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin TL1999.89 / The McNay

Remember the kid in elementary school, maybe junior high (I'm showing my age), who always sat in class drawing pictures? I recall those people and how I wondered what in the world they were going to do with their lives. Sure, I wished I could draw like they did, but I always knew that if I were to make anything of myself I needed to pay attention in class and do my assignments.

James Baker

The ongoing radio series, "The Art of American Popular Song," is now into week two, with "The Art of Irving Berlin." The series will continue over the weeks ahead, through June 11, with shows devoted to Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, and others.

Wikipedia.com

Has any songwriter written a more consistent body of love songs than Irving Berlin? These are plentiful on this week's Art of American Popular Song, along with Berlin's holiday anthems of "God Bless America," "White Christmas," and "Easter Parade." It's impossible to cite all of Berlin's songs, and to be truthful, they were not all exceptional. Nevertheless, of his over 1,200 songs, 25 rose to number one on the pop charts. He also completed scores to 17 Broadway musicals and revues.

 

Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin TL1999.263.1 / McNay

Make a date with KPAC and KTXI for the next eight Sunday afternoons for The Art of American Popular Song, the reprise of a series produced over a decade ago for KPAC by co-writers and hosts Kathy Couser and James Baker. Each week the program will focus on one of the most important of the songwriters who produced, over a span of 50 years, what is affectionately known as The Great American Songbook.

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