James Baker

Contributing Writer

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.

Pages

KPAC Blog
10:08 pm
Sun February 24, 2013

How To Make A Trumpet Player

Chuck Berginc
Phoenix Symphony

Years ago, in the late 1970s, Chuck Berginc joined the San Antonio Symphony as the orchestra's second trumpet. Chuck's career later took him to several years as principal trumpet in the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico and more recently (if 30 years can be considered recent) principal with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra as well as principal trumpet for the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.

Ever wonder what it takes to become a successful professional trumpet player? Everyone has their own story, so here is Chuck's, in his own words (and notes).

Read more
Arts & Culture
4:59 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

TMEA: Musical Innovation and Tradition

Jerry Junkin, Artistic Director Dallas Wind Symphony
artandseek.org

  “We try to give them examples of good practice, inspirational players, and good modeling.” Mark Burke, speaking of the intention behind Charanga Music World, a cloud-based learning tool for young musicians.

Read more
KPAC Blog
7:11 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Hekel Tavares, The Master Of Brazilian Folklore

Brazilian composer Hekel Tavares
www.drzem.com.br

We often speak of certain Brazilian composers suffering in the shadow of Heitor Villa-Lobos. After all, he was the one who possessed not only musical genius, but also the ability to attract attention.

He was, in many ways, bigger than life, which made it a struggle for other very able composers to be seen and heard. These others included Camargo Guarnieri, Franciso Mignone and Claudio Santoro. The music of these composers is still struggling to be heard outside of Brazil.

Read more
Arts & Culture
2:54 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

It's Not All About the Notes: What the Arts Teach Our Children

The arts teach on many different levels
Credit Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

The arts promote skills essential to academic and life success.

Bravo to Lisa Phillips, author, blog journalist, arts and leadership educator, speaker and business owner for this reminder that arts education in our  schools does much more than simply teach crafts, music and acting. There's also problem solving, creativity, confidence, and so much more that kids take away from these studies. 

Read more
KPAC Blog: Itinerarios
2:19 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Latin American String Quartet Celebrates 30 Years

Cuarteto Latinoamericano
Cuarteto Latinoamericano

In many ways, KPAC and the Cuarteto Latinoamericano have lived parallel lives over the past 30 years. San Antonio's cultural profile would be quite different today if not for KPAC's dedication to providing great music around the clock for the greater San Antonio area. For these same three decades, the Latin American String Quartet has emerged as the essential champion of Latin American music for string quartet. Long may both these cultural institutions survive.

Read more
KPAC Blog: Itinerarios
5:00 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Eduardo Mata: A Documentary Film

Wikipedia

 Last year (2012) was a Mexico-wide -- and even international -- year of reflection upon the life and career of the Mexican composer and conductor Eduardo Mata. He would have been 70 years old, if not for his tragic death, much too young, in 1995.

Read more
KPAC Blog: Itinerarios
3:43 pm
Sat January 5, 2013

Olivia Gorra: Still The Pride Of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz

Olivia Gorra
James Baker

It was 10 years ago that I met the remarkable Mexican soprano Olivia Gorra, at the 2003 Festival Internacional de Cervantino. She had just made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Turandot, with more performances to come.

The pride of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Olivia performed an outdoor program at Guanajuato's Alhondiga which was capped off by a rousing set with her fellow Veracruzanos, the folkloric ensemble Tlen Huicani. Despite her numerous opera house successes, I doubt she has ever had them dancing in the aisles at the Met.

Read more
KPAC Blog
11:26 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Best Of: Simon Rattle And The Berliners

Herbert von Karajan
revolutionfortomorrow.blogspot.com

It was on a Summer morning in Mexico City that I heard the sad news of the passing of Herbert von Karajan. The notice was on the radio as I drove over to the Sala Nezahualcoytl, on the campus of Mexico's National University. I was on my way to play a matinee concert with the Orquesta de la Mineria.

Once I arrived, I immediately went to the dressing room of the conductor, Luis Herrera de la Fuente, to relate the bad news. He was alarmed. "Are you sure?" he asked. "I'm afraid so, Maestro," I replied.

Read more
Arts & Culture
4:10 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Flight of the Bumblebee - under 60 seconds!

World record playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" on the Giant Tuba by Joerg Wachsmuth with Dresden Phil on Dec 31,2012. Don't want to be stung by this thing!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HJDUp2PlT2s

KPAC Blog
1:00 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Charles Booker: Big Heart, Big Voice

Charles Booker
James Baker

I suppose it is because I have largely made my living these past 20 years with my voice -- though certainly not as a singer -- that I have come to value the sound of a voice and what it reveals; both when the voice is alive, and perhaps more importantly, when that speaker is no longer with us.

Read more

Pages