Classical

KPAC Blog
4:15 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Symphony Player's Day Job More Like A Calling

Steve Zeserman.
Steve Zeserman

If you ever see a list of people who are perpetually dissatisfied or unenthusiastic, here’s a name you won’t find there.

“My name’s Steve Zeserman and I play double bass in the San Antonio Symphony.”

His optimism is palpable, and you can hear it when he talks about anything. From his days in college at the Curtis Institute of Music:

“I guess it was similar to eating caviar every day for four years, the richness of the culture,” he said.

To landing his job with the San Antonio Symphony:

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Classical Music
10:56 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Brilliant, Bloody Music

Credit Albany Records

Classical music, for all its beauty, has always had a violent streak, whether in the plots of operas, as inspiration for the music, or on rare occasions, in the concert hall. But an arresting new release on Albany Records makes no bones about the music within. Sporting a stylized illustration of a woman holding a bloody knife, the album's title reads in block letters, “Deep Water: The Murder Ballads.” (It's my favorite classical album cover of the year.)

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Deceptive Cadence
10:54 am
Sun July 27, 2014

War Of Words At Met Opera May Signal Shutdown

Bryn Terfel as Wotan in the Met's production of Wagner's Ring cycle, one of the productions that has been criticized by some as too costly.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 12:32 pm

When an opera company is in the midst of contentious labor negotiations, the results can be dramatic. This week, the war of words between unions and management at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the world's largest opera company, escalated. An Aug. 1 shut down now seems likely.

At the center of the debate is the ballooning Met budget, which stood at $200 million in 2006 but has since climbed to more than $325 million. Met General Manager Peter Gelb asserts that union salaries and benefits are his biggest costs, accounting for two-thirds of the operating budget.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:25 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers of a lockout if a contract deal isn't settled by July 31.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:22 pm

The clock is ticking for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The world's largest opera company may be headed for a shutdown. Most of the union contracts for the Met expire in a week. Yesterday, Met General Manager Peter Gelb sent a letter to the unions, warning them to prepare for a lockout if they don't come to terms.

For months now, the company and its unions have been at an impasse. Management has proposed cutting 16 percent of union members' compensation. Otherwise, Gelb contends, the company could go bankrupt in two to three years.

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KPAC Blog
2:23 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

No Offseason Fiddling Around For Symphony Player Aimee Toomes

Aimee Toomes with Skype violin lesson.
Janet Toomes

The San Antonio Symphony’s season is done and won’t start until September. So what are all those musicians doing with their time?  I found out at least one of them isn't exactly kicking back for the summer. Aimee Toomes, who plays violin in the symphony, was one of those kids who picked up an instrument early.

“I started playing violin when I was a fourth grader in public school, and 20 something years later I’m a violinist with the San Antonio Symphony,” she said.

She’s no slouch when it comes to how she learned her trade.

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KPAC Blog
1:48 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

What Does The Opening Of Tobin Center Mean For The Majestic Theatre?

The ornate inside of the Majestic Theatre.
Credit Courtesy photo

I've probably had half a dozen people worriedly ask me, "What's going to happen to the Majestic after the Tobin opens?" So I decided to ask the person most likely to know if there any truth to the rumor that the Majestic Theatre will be closing down after the Tobin Center opens.

“No truth to that rumor, not at all," said Mike Rilley, who is the Majestic’s general manager.

“The Majestic’s got next year probably as much programming as we’ve ever had,” he said.

So I asked him to detail exactly who's coming to the Majestic.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:56 am
Tue July 22, 2014

America's Youth Orchestra Hits The Road — This Time, Playing For U.S.

The French horns of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA — a yearly summer project organized by Carnegie Hall — rehearsed Saturday in Purchase, N.Y., in advance of their tour around the country.
Chris Lee Courtesy of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:23 pm

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KPAC Blog
2:09 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Ballet San Antonio's High Profile Hire

Amy Fote.
Jim Caldwell

Ballet San Antonio has hired a high-visibility retiring dancer with the objective of continuing to elevate the ballet.

“We are so thrilled to bring on a new artistic staff member: Amy Fote," said Ballet San Antonio Artistic Director Gabriel Zertuche. "She’s coming to us as a retired principal dancer from Houston Ballet.”

I asked Zertuche about her job responsibilities.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:59 pm
Sun July 20, 2014

A Guitar Hero Draws His Own Sketches Of Spain

Milos Karadaglic's latest album, Aranjuez, released this July.
Lars Borges Mercury Classics

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 11:26 am

If you're a classical guitarist, it may be impossible to resist the pull of one iconic piece: the Concierto de Aranjuez by Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. Many musicians regard it as the holy grail of guitar repertoire, including a man so big in the classical world he is known by only one name: Milos.

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KPAC Blog
3:55 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

New YOSA Executive Director Looks To Reach More Kids

YOSA in Vermont.
Courtesy YOSA

One of San Antonio’s iconic cultural attributes gets a new leader, although to call him new might be a slight exaggeration.

“I’m really excited about it. I’ve been interim director for the past year,” said Brandon Henson, who has worked at Youth Orchestras of San Antonio for quite some time but is now their executive director.

“(We've) got a lot of exciting opportunities ahead with YOSA," he said.

Turns out Henson has an interesting backstory himself.

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