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

Throughout 2015 the world has been celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of Miguel de Cervantes novel, Don Quixote. We've also been celebrating on KPAC's weekly Classics a la Carte, focusing upon a variety of different musical tellings of the many adventures of Don Quixote and his sidekick, Sancho Panza.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. © Sucessio Miro / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris 2015

The curtain rises on Modernists at The McNay, Part Two with another perspective on the large canvas which greets visitors to the McNay's current headline show, Miro: The Experience of Seeing. Rene Barilleaux, Chief Curator at the McNay, describes what he sees in Miro's Homage to Picasso. We then follow Rene into the next room, coming face-to-face with Woman and Bird in the Night. The question raised here is whether by a simple charcoal inscription of the word "orange" the viewer will "see" a color which isn't really there.

"Pablo picasso 1 (cuadrado)" by Revista Vea y Lea (cuadrado por Juan Pablo Arancibia Medina) - Fuente Original: Mágicas RuinasFUENTE DEL CUADRADO. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pablo_picasso_1

Although Joan Miró is the current headliner at The McNay Art Museum, many will tell us that the Miro we know in the exhibition Miro: The Experience of Seeing might not have existed if not for his long friendship with Pablo Picasso. Miró regarded Picasso, 12 years his senior, as his mentor.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. © Sucessio Miro / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris 2015

The visual art style of Cubism was born between the years 1907 and 1914, breathing first life mostly in Paris, and largely through the efforts of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. As the world began to notice this new way of “seeing,” reaction ranged from dismay to celebration. As other artists began to adapt their work to the new style, both music and theater became infected. Picasso found an ally and a friend in Igor Stravinsky, while Erik Satie pressed the boundaries of music to better reflect the changes in the art world.

They're a keyboard band. No, they are a guitar band. Nope! They're a synth band. Wait! Maybe Snarky Puppy is a big band. The truth is they are all of these and they are none of them. They are unique. An enigma. They are an amalgam of a dozen or more highly individual and accomplished musicians. Beyond what you see on the stage, they are a collective of 40 or more musicians, each player capable of being on the next gig in New York, Chicago, London, Bucharest, or Austin.