"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."
The five-year contract extension signing by San Antonio Symphony Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing almost seemed like an athletic superstar event. Notables like the Tobin Center’s Bruce Bugg and Judge Nelson Wolff offered their thanks to the conductor, but the new Symphony GM David Gross really set the tone.
"I know how Coach Pop felt the day that Tim Duncan committed to the long term with the Spurs," Gross said.
The San Antonio Symphony is back with another offering for South Texans and this one a little out of the ordinary.
"The 'Halloween Spooktacular' is the first of the three family concerts," said Associate Conductor Akiko Fujimoto. "It is the weekend before Halloween, Sunday afternoon. We are featuring a piece called 'The Composer is Dead' and it sounds pretty spooky but it is actually a great whodunnit mystery piece with a narrator.
After six years of arts and experimentation, the committee behind Luminaria is now working on how to advance the annual visual art expo over the next five years.
The annual event, which is usually held in the spring, is hard to miss downtown with its vibrant light displays and visual projections. It started using several streets around the Alamo and then moved into Hemisfair Park, but now its creative team is looking at the future, of when, where, and how long it should be.
The San Antonio Symphony debuted its new season last weekend and Musical Director and sometimes Conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing predicts a lot of sizzle for their Friday and Saturday night performances at the Majestic.
"It’s going to be a very exciting performance for me," he said. "Schumann is something that’s very personal for me. I’m very close to his music. I’ve recorded all of his symphonies and always feature him when I can."
Lang-Lessing is also looking forward to playing Rachmaninoff’s "Symphonic Dances."
The San Antonio Symphony’s new season starts Friday night at the Majestic Theater. Now in his fourth year as the music director for the symphony, Sebastian Lang-Lessing talked about what's coming this season.
"We open the season with a very Russian/French program," he said. "Two big Mussorgsky pieces. 'The Night on Bald Mountain,' orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov and then we finish the concert with 'Pictures at an Exhibition.'"
Lang-Lessing’s enthusiasm for a soloist from last year has him bringing her back for an encore.