As you likely know, the city-wide Dvořák Festival finds several classical music assets doing live concerts of the composer’s music. The yearly one-composer focus was begun by the San Antonio Symphony, and this is its fourth year.
"This week is the only week where we have two different programs on Friday and Saturday so you have to come twice this weekend if you want to hear the entire Dvořák cycle," said Symphony Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing.
Acclaimed soloist Michel Dalberto performs with the symphony first.
Many classical music organizations are participating in the city-wide Dvořák Festival, and the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio are doing so too. YOSA Music Director Troy Peters has the lowdown.
"We are working with the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio and also with musicians from the San Antonio Symphony" he explained. "So we’ll have a string orchestra of students and professionals playing together, playing the great Dvořák 'Serenade for Strings.' And then we’re also going to do a nice little set of choral music with the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio."
Next Friday the San Antonio Symphony’s month-long Dvořák Festival begins. An enthusiastic Maestro Sebastian Lang-Lessing describes Dvořák’s cello concerto as an outstanding one, and "probably also is the most popular cello concerto ever written."
For the Dvořák debut, the symphony is bringing back Chinese cellist Jian Wang.
"He’s looking forward to coming back to San Antonio this season, and we are looking forward to kick off the festival with him," Lang Lessing said.
It all starts with the spirited "Carnival Overture."
The San Antonio Symphony doesn’t do a lot of television specials, but once a year they collaborate with public television station KLRN to produce an hour-long program.
"[This year's show will] launch nicely our next festival, which will be a Dvorak Festival," said conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing by phone from Belgrade. "[We'll be] introducing Dvorak to the public. We’ve chosen this year the 'Carnival Overture' and a set of Slavonic dances, which really shows Dvorak from his folky side."
On Christmas Eve, tune to KPAC 88.3 FM and KTXI 90.1 FM for a special program, “A Baroque Holiday,” featuring the San Antonio Symphony, led by Associate Conductor Akiko Fujimoto. Recorded live at San Fernando Cathedral, Akiko Fujimoto says the venue was beautiful, artistically and historically. “San Fernando Cathedral was built during the baroque period,” she points out, “so there could not be more perfect venue for this music to be performed by the San Antonio Symphony.”
The San Antonio Symphony’s holiday season is winding down, but there's yet another performance that maybe you shouldn't miss. This Friday and Saturday night at the Majestic Theater, the annual "Holiday Pops" concert closes the seasonal performances. San Antonio Mastersinger and Board Member Chancey Blackburn is excited about the shows.
The San Antonio Mastersingers are about to begin a series of performances that have become a San Antonio holiday tradition. They are teaming with the San Antonio Symphony for George Frideric Handel's "The Messiah."
"The Nutcracker" is now an American Christmas tradition, but when Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky debuted the work in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892, it wasn't a success. San Antonio Symphony’s Associate Conductor Akiko Fujimoto explains.
"You have to understand, until Tchaikovsky came along, ballet music was just ballet music," Fujimoto said. "It wasn’t appreciated for its own good, and Tchaikovsky single-handedly did that."