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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Classical Music
4:13 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

First Listen: Isaac Karabtchevsky Conducts Villa-Lobos

Isaac Karabtchevsky
Wikimedia Commons

The year was 1982, I believe, when I first encountered the Brazilian conductor Isaac Karabtchevsky. He had come to guest conduct the Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City Philharmonic), of which I was a member. I have fond memories of the experience, especially the opening number of the concert, the “Overture to Der Freischutz” by Carl Maria von Weber. The orchestra loved playing for him and gave him terrific performances. I recall going out afterward with a group of musicians and Maestro Karabtchevsky, for drinks.

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Classical Music
5:46 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Maria Teresa Rodriguez (1923-2013): Champion of Carlos Chavez

Maria Teresa Rodriguez, (1923-2013)
INBA

Speak of the Mexican pianist Maria Teresa Rodriguez and the topic quickly turns to her recordings of the solo piano music of Carlos Chavez. However, many will advise a more thorough exploration of her work, for she was said to have had a repertoire which included more than 400 pieces, including Maurice Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin."

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Arts & Culture
4:40 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Marian McPartland, 1918-2013: The End Of An Era

Marian McPartland playing "The Great American Songbook" for young listeners
Wikimedia Commons

It's a sign of the inevitable passage of time that we find ourselves weekly, even daily, bidding farewell to our few remaining links to that great gesture of American music which we know fondly as "The Great American Songbook." One such link, one of the last, passed away on Tuesday night, August 20th. Sadly, we must say our farewells to Marian McPartland.

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Texas Music
4:31 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Seth Walker's "Time Can Change" A Winner, Start To Finish

Seth Walker
Credit Seth Walker

    

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Arts & Culture
10:12 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

David Amram remembers the San Remo Cafe & Bar in Greenwich Village

l.to r., Phil Hartman, owner of Two Boots, located at the site of the old San Remo Cafe in Greenwich Village, Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and David Amram
Credit David Amram

I always look forward to emails arriving from my old friend, fellow horn player David Amram. I recently sent him a video interview I did with him a few years ago. That prompted his always gracious thank you and then this account of the San Remo Cafe and Bar in Greewich Village:

 July 29, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation had an honoring ceremony celebrating the San Remo Cafe and Bar.

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Arts & Culture
1:29 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Oana Cătălina Chiţu's Reprise of Maria Tănase is Divine

Maria Tănase, Romanian diva
Wikimedia

  With only a few exceptions, the “best” days of Communism (and I say that with plenty of sarcasm) are long gone. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 (with the final destruction in 1990), the Round Table talks in Warsaw in 1989, and the brutal execution of Nicolae Ceausescu in December of 1989 explain the often heard term Revolutions of 1989 as synonymous with the Fall of Communism.

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Arts & Culture
2:14 pm
Sat July 27, 2013

Marin Alsop and Sao Paulo Symphony Head to Europe in October

Marin Alsop, Chief Conductor of Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra
Credit Grant Leighton

  In October 2013 Marin Alsop will bring the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Brazil’s leading cultural export, to Europe for a 15 concert tour. The Orchestra’s most extensive European tour to date takes in Berlin’s Philharmonie, Paris’s Salle Pleyel, London’s Royal Festival Hall and the Vienna Konzerthaus, plus three dates at the Salzburg Festival.

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KPAC Blog
4:20 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Camp KPAC: The Final Day!

L to R: Ramee Saleh, Alexia Salingaros, Madison Rogers, Ryan Rogers, Jillian Kouzel, and Lennon Maldonado.
James Baker

Today we wrapped up Camp KPAC 2013, the second year of the program. I took the first photo seen above on Monday. Camp coordinator Nathan Cone suggested on Friday that we take an "after" photo (next in series). Someone in the group (they are all sharp as tacks) quipped: "So they can see how we've grown." 

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Classical Music
1:24 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Does Beethoven's Choral Sympony Complete the Missa Solemnis?

Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven when composing the Missa Solemnis, 1820
Wikimedia Commons

Critics have often been a little nervous about Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis." To some, it has a fragmented quality about it, especially in the final movement, the Agnus Dei.

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Arts & Culture
11:01 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Missa Solemnis Headlines 38th Victoria Bach Festival

Craig Hella Johnson
Craig Johnson

The week of June 3-8 marks the 38th call to order of the Victoria Bach Festival. Hundreds of musicians will eventually make their ways to this South Texas city as participants in numerous chamber concerts, plus the grand finale on Saturday evening, June 8.

That final concert brings the entire ensemble of orchestra, chorus and soloists to the stage of the Victoria Fine Arts Center, 1002 Sam Houston Drive. Craig Hella Johnson's downbeat is at 7:30 PM.

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