Classical

Arts & Culture
3:41 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Quartetto Di Cremona: From Halfway Around The World To San Antonio

Credit Courtesy photo

They’re coming from nearly halfway around the world to perform in San Antonio. I reached one of them in Italy.

Quartetto di Cremona. They play chamber music and their first violin is Cristiano Gualco.

“We were born as a quartet in Cremona, that is the city.”

The small northern Italian city of Cremona, with a fine musical tradition, brought together Quartetto.  “The violin makers Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati, the three great violin makers, they were born there, they worked in Cremona.”

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Arts & Culture
9:06 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

The Sounds Of Silence, Invincibly Yours

Invincible Czars
Suzi Spies

A classic silent film will soon be playing in San Antonio, but this version will have a twist. The twist was provided by the band the Invincible Czars.

(To hear Invincible Czars, hit "listen” above)

So what makes them so invincible?

“Ha! Good question," says founder Josh Robbins. "Well, we seem to keep going no matter what gets thrown at us. The band has existed for 12 years.”

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Arts & Culture
1:05 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Youth Orchestra Turns Up The Heat With Competition

Youth Orchestras of San Antonio
Courtesy YOSA

The Youth Orchestras of San Antonio has an interesting concert scheduled for this weekend. I spoke recently to YOSA Music Director Troy Peters.

“This Saturday, YOSA’s going to be holding our annual concerto competition. We’ve got 10 of our most advanced musicians, who are going to be playing at two o’clock on Saturday afternoon, at St. David’s Episcopal Church. And then, one of them will be named a winner, and will appear as a soloist with the San Antonio Symphony.”

This is a competition, albeit a friendly one.

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Arts & Culture
12:53 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Austin Baroque Orchestra Takes Mission Concepcion Back in Time

Austin Baroque Orchestra
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.

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Author Interviews
9:00 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

'The Black Horn': Blowing Past Classical Music's Color Barriers

Robert Lee Watt was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for more than three decades.
Courtesy of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 8:44 am

Robert Lee Watt fell in love with the French horn at an early age. He met a lot of resistance from people who thought his background and his race made a career with the instrument unlikely — but he went on to become the first African-American French hornist hired by a major symphony in the United States.

He became the assistant first French horn for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1970, and stayed with the orchestra for 37 years. His memoir, The Black Horn, tells how he got there.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Reaches Labor Deal With Musicians

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra bassist Michael Kurth stands on the picket line for a silent protest during the lockout in September. The orchestra announced this weekend that it had reached a new four-year contract with musicians.
David Goldman AP

Musicians and management at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra have reached agreement on a new labor contract after months of negotiations and a lockout, setting the stage for the ensemble's 70th anniversary season to start on Thursday. Appropriately enough, the first concert will feature Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."

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Deceptive Cadence
9:03 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Power And Struggle In A Soviet Symphony

Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich's once brilliant career took a dive after the official party paper criticized one of his operas in 1936. Shostakovich responded with his powerful Fifth Symphony.
Central Press Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 11:33 am

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Code Switch
5:44 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Drummer And Tuba Player Work To Stay Sharp For Band And College

The Sonic Boom of the South at Jackson State isn't just a band; it's the university's most visible marketing tool.
Keith O'Brien NPR

Six months ago, we brought you the story of the Edna Karr High School marching band in New Orleans. Two members of the band in particular, snare drummer Charles Williams and tuba player Nicholas Nooks, or Big Nick as his friends call him, earned scholarships to Jackson State University in Mississippi — their dream.

The marching band at Jackson State is known as the Sonic Boom of the South. Band camp began in August with 164 freshmen. But after weeks of late nights and early mornings, musical training and also push-ups, 24 had quit.

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Classical Music
2:36 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Celebrating John Philip Sousa's 160th Birthday

Legendary marching band composer John Philip Sousa was born in Washington, D.C. back in 1854. (AP)

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 2:59 pm

On this day in 1854, legendary marching band composer John Philip Sousa was born in Washington, D.C.

Today also happens to be the birthday of Here & Nows Robin Young, so to celebrate the dual occasion we listened to some Sousa favorites with longtime Sousa lover Keith Brion, founder and director of the New Sousa Band. He also happens to live next door to Robin Young in Cambridge, Mass.

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Music News
9:58 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mr. Sax

Adolphe Sax, a Belgian musician and the inventor of the saxophone, was born 200 years ago Thursday.
The LIFE Picture Collection Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 12:23 pm

It's rare to be able to celebrate a person who invented a popular musical instrument. Mostly, from the guitar to the violin to the flute, musical instruments have evolved over time: There is no Mr. Flute or Ms. Trumpet. But there is a Mr. Sax — or, rather, a Monsieur Sax.

Adolphe Sax was born in Belgium 200 years ago Thursday. As a young man, Sax worked for his father, also an instrument maker. The younger Sax made improvements to the bass clarinet and invented a family of instruments called saxhorns before creating his eponymous "phone" in the early 1840s.

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