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

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.

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

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.

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.

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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