12 Years a Slave is the most compelling film about music to be released this year, maybe this century. It's so many other things, too, as others have noted: a corrective to the weird cocktail of piety and cartoonishness that Hollywood usually supplies when depicting slavery; a gorgeous art film and an actor's hellish paradise; a cultural highlight of the Obama administration.
On November 21, 1963, in Houston, Texas, President John F.Kennedy and his wife Jackie, along with Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, were entertained by San Antonio musicians. Fernando Herrera and other musicians gave the distinguished visitors a taste of Texas at the Crystal Ballroom in the Rice Hotel.
Herrera remembers the night well, and he had a great deal of interchange with the president himself.
"Much to my surprise, Kennedy was familiar with all the music because those Kennedys traveled all over the world. He knew my outfit," Herrera said.
The Ahn Trio is a highly regarded chamber ensemble, and they're coming Saturday night to the Carver Cultural Center. Their performance in the Alamo City though brings with it a twist. The dance troupe Nai Ni Chen will perform onstage with them.
"I find it very engaging and exciting, and hopefully our audiences will [too]," said violinist Angela Ahn.
The Youth Orchestras of San Antonio welcome guest musician Tracy Silverman for their next concert. Silverman’s violin has six strings -- two more than most -- and those added strings make a huge difference in his sound.
When he joins forces with YOSA on Tuesday, November 19, at the Lila Cockrell Theater, they are planning on throwing the audience some curves.
"It’s set up as sort of a flash mob, where the orchestra appears out of the audience itself," Silverman said.
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 12:03 pm
Between the time when English composer Benjamin Britten began thinking about writing an oratorio that addressed the hell of war and the time he completed his War Requiem, the world was consumed by violence several times over. There were the horrors of WWII in Europe, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the assassination of Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi, whom the pacifist Britten admired greatly.
The Steinway piano company has a new owner. This fall, the investment firm Paulson & Co. — led by billionaire John Paulson — spent about $500 million and bought all of Steinway & Sons, the venerated piano maker.
The deal includes a foundry in Springfield, Ohio, where the Steinway pianos are born in fire.
The O.S. Kelly Foundry has been making Steinway's plates since 1938. The plate is the cast-iron heart of a piano: It holds the steel wire strings with 40,000 pounds of tension, the company says. It allows vibrations to arise in a concert hall as music.
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 8:03 am
Last March, when the San Francisco Symphony was slated for an East Coast tour, including a stop at Carnegie Hall, the musicians went on strike. Fortunately, the labor dispute was settled in 18 days — a blink of an eye compared to the recent drawn-out disruptions in Minnesota and Detroit. Still, it left New Yorkers hungry for the San Francisco Symphony's brand of tonal luminescence and programming bravado, nurtured by forward-thinking conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.
For six decades, in her light-filled studio on top of New York's Carnegie Hall, portrait photographer Editta Sherman photographed celebrities from Leonard Bernstein to Yul Brynner to Joe DiMaggio. She was a legend — and she'd tell you that herself. Sherman died Friday at 101.
A note on her website reads: "Editta Sherman's vibrant sparkling life faded from this earth on November 1st, All Saints Day. She is at peace now and she is clothed in her ballerina dress with her diamond shoes dancing her way home to our hearts."