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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Holidays
12:17 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

WATCH: U.S. Air Force Band Stages A 'Holiday Flash Mob'

Col. Larry H. Lang conducts the Band's first-ever flash mob at the National Air and Space Museum on Dec. 3.
U.S. Air Force

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 9:26 am

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Music Reviews
4:21 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Canadian Group Fuses Bluegrass And Tchaikovsky On Holiday CD

Pipistrelle Music

Every year, radio stations are deluged with new Christmas albums, and Texas Public Radio is no different. This year, I came across one that made its way to the top of my listening stack. The Canadian group Ensemble Polaris boasts diverse instrumentation, including guitar, banjo, mandolin, bagpipe, musical saw, recorders and winds.

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KPAC Blog
3:50 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Black Violin Talks High School Outreach Ahead Of Friday Performance

Black Violin performing for a showcase at SXSW 2013 in Austin last march.
Chris Eudaily TPR News

Black Violin, it's the Florida band which has staked out the unlikely intersection of hip hop and classical music. Band member Wilner Baptiste (Wil B) spoke to TPR about the band's outreach efforts in high schools.

"It's something that is very dear to our hearts because we understand," Baptiste said. "We were in a performing arts school that actually had an orchestra."

Baptiste talked about his Fort Lauderdale high school years where, due to budget cuts, he nearly missed being able to learn violin.

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KPAC Blog
12:56 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Conspirare Brings Special Guest Ruthie Foster For Holiday Performance

Conspirare Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson.
Conspirare

Conspirare is a professional chamber choir from Austin that sings different types of music, from medieval to modern. The word itself may sound like it has sinister undertones, but Craig Hella Johnson, the group's artistic director, said it means, "to breathe together."

"We are so thrilled about our visit to San Antonio," Johnson said. "We are returning to a venue that we really enjoy singing in -- Laurel Heights United Methodist Church -- and we are singing this Friday."

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KPAC Blog
2:03 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

San Antonio Mastersingers Take On Handel's "The Messiah"

San Antonio Mastersingers
San Antonio Mastersingers

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."

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Classical Music
1:57 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Yuja Wang: Rooted In Diligence, Inspired By Improvisation

Yuja Wang at NPR's studio in Washington, D.C.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 9:56 am

Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 — "Rach 3," as fans fondly call it — is one of the most famously difficult pieces of music there is. The sheet music goes on and on, with notes so dense the pages start to look like modern art. The piece is so challenging that some noted pianists have declined to perform it — but Yuja Wang has recorded it for her newest album.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:56 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Serbian Composer Djuro Zivkovic Wins Grawemeyer Music Prize

Djuro Zivkovic's On the Guarding of the Heart has won the Grawemeyer award for music composition.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 9:08 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
9:23 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Da Vinci's String Organ Must Be Heard To Be Believed

Pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki presents the "viola organista" on Oct. 18 in Krakow, Poland. Zubrzycki spent almost four years building the instrument, which is based on a late 15th-century design by Leonardo da Vinci.
Tomasz Wiech AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:41 am

The man who painted the Mona Lisa, and was the first to sketch out the helicopter and the submarine, also dabbled in music. So here's the question: What musical instrument did Leonardo da Vinci design?

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Classical Music
10:25 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Leonard Bernstein's Letters

Leonard Berstein seated at a piano in this 1955 photograph. (Library of Congress via Wikimedia)

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 11:12 am

Leonard Bernstein is widely considered one of the great American composers and conductors. He was the longtime music director of the New York Philharmonic, and he composed the music for “West Side Story” and other musicals, in addition to serious works of contemporary American classical music.

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KPAC Blog
5:03 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Black Violin Shakes Up Classical And Hip-Hop Worlds At The Carver

Black Violin
Courtesy photo

Black Violin is coming to San Antonio, and they’re probably unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Their sound could be described as two parts hip hop and two parts classical.

"We’re a product of both worlds," said Wilner Baptiste, or Wil B as he’s known.

"The classical/hip hop thing is always something we did to keep our interest in the classics," Baptiste said.

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