Austin Baroque Orchestra

Justin Cole Photography

An Austin-based orchestra and chorus manage to get to San Antonio two or three times a year for a performance. TPR’s Arts and Culture Reporter Jack Morgan spoke to its Artistic Director.

It’s the Austin Baroque Orchestra and Chorus, and he’s Billy Traylor. What he’s bringing Sunday is a big show.

“There are 16 singers.  And the orchestra has about twenty.”

And there’s something else that sets this group apart.

Austin Baroque Orchestra

An atypical type of orchestra is bringing their sound to San Antonio. I caught up recently with their Artistic Director.

“We’re going to be doing our yearly Latin American Early Music concert.”

That’s Billy Traylor on the Austin Baroque Orchestra.

“Every year we come to San Antonio to Mission Concepcion; we’ve done this the past two or three years now. And it’s particularly special because we’re playing music from colonial Latin America in a colonial Spanish Church. So it’s as close as you can come to hearing this music in its original setting.

Justin Cole Photography

The Austin Baroque Orchestra comes to San Antonio two or three times a year. I spoke to their artistic director to find out what sets them apart; mostly it’s the instruments they use to make the music they play. Like this one: a theorbo.

"Theorbo: it’s a really large lute with really large bass strings on it,” said Billy Traylor.

“It usually sticks up a good three or four feet above the head of the person playing it. It’s a very long-necked instrument.”

Some of instruments are unfamiliar, but the music they make doesn’t sound so different.

Justin Cole Photography

Musical sounds from centuries long ago are coming to San Antonio in the form of the
Austin Baroque Orchestra Chamber Players, though you may remember them having come to San Antonio last fall as Settecento.

“We’ll be playing at St. John’s Lutheran Church downtown on Sunday at 3 p.m. and we’ll be playing classical-era chamber music," said Billy Traylor, Austin Baroque Orchestra’s artistic director.

Justin Cole Photography

Fredericksburg will soon host a rare music performance. Austin Baroque Orchestra Music Director Billy Traylor described them this way:

“We’re a period instrument orchestra so we perform music from the 17th and 18th century on replicas of instruments from that time," Traylor said.

This comes from a time before metal strings and before wind instruments had valves. If you listen to the audio package above, you can hear the Austin Baroque Orchestra, and it is different. 

I asked Traylor about their upcoming concert in Fredericksburg.

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