KPAC Blog

The KPAC Blog features classical music news and analysis.  From a detailed look at Wagner's masterpiece "Parsifal," to an inside look at the Latin Grammys, the KPAC Blog features writings about some of the music played on air as well as other interviews and essays about classical music.

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Classical Music
3:35 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Cachet And Cash For Rafał Blechacz, Named 2014 Gilmore Artist

Rafał Blechacz has been named the 2014 Gilmore Artist. In 2005, he swept the five top prizes at the International Chopin Competition.
Felix Broede DG

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 10:19 am

Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz, who at age 20 swept all five top prizes at the 2005 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, can now add another prestigious award to his collection. Early Wednesday, Blechacz was named the 2014 Gilmore Artist.

The Gilmore may not have quite the name recognition as the Chopin Competition, but it has a distinguished cachet of its own, plus a generous $300,000 cash award.

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TPR Events & Initiatives
3:25 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

TPR Presents: Dvorak

Antonin Dvorak.
Wikimedia Commons

As part of the city-wide Dvorak Festival, Texas Public Radio invites members to TPR Presents: Dvorak at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, at Our Lady of the Lake University's Thiry Auditorium, 411 SW 24th St. There will be a dessert reception following the performance.

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KPAC Blog
4:53 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

SOLI Debuts Three New Commissioned Works In January Shows

The SOLI Chamber Ensemble.
Courtesy of the artist

Violinist and SOLI Chamber Ensemble Artistic Director Ertan Torgul said his group specializes in contemporary classical music and has commissioned over 40 works in the group's time together.

They pay musicians to write new classical compositions and then SOLI debuts them in San Antonio.  

"All we’re doing really is performing stuff that is new, just like in Beethoven’s day," Torgul said.

Torgul reminds us that even the classics were contemporary at one time.

"We’re doing the same thing for today’s composers," he said.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
4:12 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo: Tiny Desk Concert

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo performs a Tiny Desk Concert in October 2013.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 7:03 am

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo is a veteran when it comes to taking risks, and it pays off in her compelling music. As a young girl in Vietnam, she knew she wanted to be a traditional musician, even though it was a world dominated by men. It was risky, then, when she pestered a master teacher for three years to give her lessons. He finally gave in, taking her on as an apprentice.

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KPAC Blog
4:40 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

San Antonio Symphony's Dvorak Festival Is Finally Here

Sebastian Lang-Lessing
San Antonio Symphony

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."

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KPAC Blog
4:13 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Symphony Of The Hills Performs "America's Favorite Music" In New Pops Concert

The Symphony of the Hills will soon be playing a pops concert in Kerrville. 

"The title of this concert is America’s Favorite Music," said Conductor and Artistic Director Jay Dunnahoo, and he’s not kidding. The Symphony of the Hills’ January 11 concert at the Cailloux Theater runs the gamut of American music.

As Dunnahoo explained, the concert starts out with this one:

"'The Colonel Bogey March,' which is the music from the 'Bridge over the River Kwai,'" he said.

You may remember it as the popular song where the tune is kept by whistling.

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KPAC Blog
11:22 am
Tue December 31, 2013

San Antonio Symphony's New Year Begins With Dvorak Festival

Sebastian Lang-Lessing conducts the San Antonio Symphony.
San Antonio Symphony

The San Antonio Symphony greets the New Year with the Dvořák Festival, which features a wide range of performances and guest artists. It all starts on Friday, January 10 and runs through February 9.

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Classical Music
11:28 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Chopin's Favorite Piano Factory Plays Its Final Chord

The Pleyel piano factory, which once supplied instruments to Frederic Chopin, will close its doors at the end of the year.
Francois Guillot AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 2:47 pm

One of the world's oldest and most iconic piano makers, Pleyel, will close its factory doors in Paris at the end of 2013.

The French press characterized the bankruptcy as inevitable in the face of cheaper competition from China. But many disagree: They say Pleyel could have survived by adapting better to the times.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:28 am
Sat December 28, 2013

As The Year Closes, A Concert Hall Remains Empty

Because of a bitter labor dispute, the Minnesota Orchestra has not played a single performance in its concert hall this year. The orchestra's music director, Osmo Vanska (pictured here), resigned in October.
Greg Helgeson Minnesota Orchestra

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 5:54 pm

Three hundred sixty-five. That's the number of days the Minnesota Orchestra will have gone without playing in its concert hall in 2013. The orchestra became the unwitting poster child for labor strife in the classical music world — and, to some extent, an emblem of the problems facing non-profit arts institutions across the country.

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Arts & Culture
11:33 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Moscow Ballet Presents 'The Nutcracker' For A Local Cause

Olga Kifyak as Masha, alongside Viktor Shcherbakov as her Nutcracker Prince.
Moscow Ballet

If you’ve been meaning to, but haven't quite got around to seeing "The Nutcracker" this year, you’ve got one more chance at the Majestic Theatre. The Moscow Ballet returns to San Antonio to perform the ballet on Monday night.

"It’s more than my job, it’s my life," said the ballet’s Natalie Miroshnyk, who is also the audition director that chose the San Antonio children who perform parts with the Moscow Ballet in the production.

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