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 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.
This weekend wraps up the third annual Mozart Festival Texas. A solo recital takes place Friday night with Rick Rowley. Saturday an orchestral concert rounds out the festival with two masterpieces: the 'Jupiter' Symphony and the Piano Concerto No. 20. Terry Frazor will conduct and feature piano soloist Ryo Yanagitani, a former Gold Medalist with the San Antonio International Piano Competition.
"It came to me in one night - a dream! I like to say that those dream images were probably rooted in my just going to college for the first time," says Conrad Tao about his Vestiges for piano. That was the start for the new album, Voyages.
Vadym Kholodenko, a 26-year-old Ukranian, won the top prize Sunday night at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth. A 20-year-old Italian, Beatrice Rana, was named runner-up, and third place went to Sean Chen, 24, the first American to reach the Cliburn finals in 16 years.
There's a good chance you've heard Brent Watkins with South Texas Jazz...they are a vital force in the downtown music scene, appearing weekly at Bohanan's or Luke. Now the Brent Watkins Trio (Watkins on piano; Tyler Jackson, bass; and Dean Macomber, drums) take the stage at the Empire Theater with a program "The Sound of the Trio: A Tribute to Oscar Peterson" Tuesday June 11th.
Twelve young pianists have advanced to the semi-final round in the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth. The musicians are playing for a top $50,000 prize and three years of worldwide concerts.