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

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.

Alfredo Valente / Wikimedia commons

In 2003 and 2004, Texas Public Radio’s James Baker and Kathy Couser produced a multi-part series on the art of the American Popular Song, focusing on great composers and lyricists like George & Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, and Rodgers & Hammerstein. Exhaustively researched and exquisitely produced, the shows were only broadcast once.

Fred Junkin

  On March 10, 2017, Texas lost a legendary music educator and master band director, Fred H. Junkin. He began his teaching career in Teague, Texas before taking a position at Tyler Jr. High for the following three years, 1951-1954. His next professional move was to be his last. In 1954, he and his new bride, Don Beth, relocated to Victoria, Texas, where he led the Victoria High School band program for 31 years.

James Baker

Thank you, Mexico

I've seen a fair number of Thanksgivings pass in my day, almost all of them spent in Texas, with friends and family. It's by far my favorite holiday since it is truly about being thankful for family, friends, and good food. I don't take it for granted.

Wikipedia

Terry Teachout, writing in this week's Wall Street Journal, provides a strong argument that it's time to give another listen to certain American composers of the mid-20th century. He refers to "America's forgotten great composers," and he's very specific in citing a quartet of composers who were active over a span from 1940-1970. A casual listener to classical music may not recognize any of these men, yet they were quite well known in their day.

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