On a hot, humid afternoon, Bob Stewart has called a rehearsal at his Harlem apartment. Six musicians are in a circle in the living room — on one side, trumpet and trombone; on the other, cello, viola and violin; and in the middle, the elephant in the room — Stewart's tuba.
The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts opens in grand style next Thursday but this Thursday I spoke to to Sarah Pautz, principle dancer for Ballet San Antonio, who has a lot on the line that night.
As you’d expect, she’s a slight, delicate-looking person. But that look is deceptive. She’s muscular, determined and focused. The opening program on Thursday is a series of excerpts from popular productions, such as "Swan Lake."
Before August gets away from us, saxophonist Amy Dickson’s new album arrives this month to celebrate classic melodies of the summer, most of them from films of the 1950s and ‘60s. Dickson’s previous albums have straddled both the classical world and popular music.
The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts opens on September 4, and San Antonio Symphony Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing described the new home for the symphony.
“I have to say it’s very chic. And it’s very stylish and modern, and yet amazingly intimate,” he said.
Lang-Lessing has been involved in the development in the Tobin for years. He said he thinks the Tobin will be the place for performing arts in the city, but he wanted to make this important distinction.
I'm always on the lookout for public art and found some recently in an unexpected place. I was on a walk and began to hear something that just made me want to walk towards it. It was music; unusual music being made by a man under a park's bridge. He was playing a Vietnamese instrument called a dan bau. I dropped a few dollars in a bowl and walked on.
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.
There are many recordings of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Do we need another? In the case of this new recording led by the young Greek conductor Teodor Currentzis, Fresh Air classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz says, "Absolutely."
With this Tiny Desk Concert by the Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet, we have the opportunity to explore the world of a single composer. With the arguable exception of Béla Bartók's six string quartets, it's generally accepted that the 15 by Dmitri Shostakovich are the strongest body of quartets since Beethoven.