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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Arts & Culture
7:41 am
Tue December 9, 2014

A Holiday Tradition Closing In Grand, Final Performance

Voci Di Sorrelle, Ruth Moreland at bottom right
Abby Prescott

A classic vocal ensemble in San Antonio is calling it a day.

“This is the farewell performance for Voci Di Sorrelle, and it’s the twelfth Christmas Concert that we’ve given.”

Ruth Moreland created Voci 11 years ago, but several members’ lives have changed substantially in that time.

“It was just time to say farewell,” she explains.

And they’re saying goodbye in the form of a holiday concert, at the Chapel of the Incarnate Word at the University.

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Arts & Culture
11:19 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

AtticRep And SOLI Want To Dance With You

Hot on the heels of SOLI Chamber Ensemble's collaboration with the community for a performance of Terry Riley's liberating work "In C" comes another opportunity for you to take the stage at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

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TPR Events & Initiatives
2:36 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

TPR Presents: Richard Strauss

1918 portrait of Richard Strauss.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

This January, the San Antonio Symphony is spearheading a city-wide festival celebrating the dramatic music of Richard Strauss (1864-1949), the acclaimed composer of “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” “Don Juan,” “Death and Transfiguration,” and the daring opera “Salome.”

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Deceptive Cadence
10:01 am
Sat December 6, 2014

In The Italian Alps, Stradivari's Trees Live On

Marcello Mazzucchi, a retired forest ranger, stands in the Fiemme Valley in the Italian Alps. Renaissance luthiers such as Antonio Stradivari came here to handpick trees that would be crafted into the world's finest instruments.
Graziano Panfili for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 6:05 pm

Antonio Stradivari, the master violin maker whose instruments sell for millions of dollars today, has been dead for nearly three centuries. Only 650 of his instruments are estimated to survive.

But the forest where the luthier got his lumber is alive and well. And thanks to the surprising teamwork of modern instrument makers and forest rangers, Stradivari's trees are doing better than ever.

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Music Interviews
2:53 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Akiko Fujimoto, On Conducting "The Nutcracker"

Akiko Fujimoto, Associate Conductor of the San Antonio Symphony
Credit Liz Garza Williams

When Akiko Fujimoto took over the helm of conducting the annual San Antonio Symphony performances of "The Nutcracker" in 2012, she had never conducted a ballet before.

"I knew that it was a completely different genre of conducting," Fujimoto says. She turned to a colleague that's been conducting Tchaikovsky's score for years, Boston Ballet's Music Director, Jonathan McPhee. "He said to watch out [because] how dancers interpret tempo is different than how musicians talk about tempo. We opened the score, and we went through everything page by page."

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:36 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Dublin Guitar Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 4:09 pm

Don't ask the members of the Dublin Guitar Quartet to play the time-honored classics of the Spanish repertoire. They might play traditional Spanish style classical guitars, but they're not your standard guitar ensemble. The Dubliners are strictly devoted to contemporary music. They've been commissioning new pieces and adapting others for both acoustic and electric guitars since 2002, when the group formed at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama.

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Music Interviews
1:23 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Sharon Isbin, Guitarist Extraordinaire

Sharon Isbin has been called "the preeminent guitarist of our time." (J. Henry Fair/Shore Fire Media)

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 2:57 pm

Sharon Isbin has been called “the preeminent guitarist of our time,” and was voted “the best classical guitarist” by Guitar Player magazine.

She was one of the first woman musicians in a field where there are few. And she’s a guitarist in the classical world where few believed the instrument deserved a place.

After decades of pushing against those limitations, Isbin now has three Grammy Awards and numerous other awards under her belt, and has collaborated with many world class composers and musicians of various genres.

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Music Reviews
8:04 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Radiohead Gets Rewritten By Reich

Credit Nonesuch Records

Radiohead and Steve Reich get mashed up on “Radio Rewrite,” an album that features two new recordings of Reich’s ear-tickling “Counterpoint” music, as well as a five-part chamber work inspired by two of Radiohead’s songs.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:41 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Stabat Mater: Young Composers Explore An Ancient Text

The British choral group called The Sixteen have taken on new settings of the ancient Stabat Mater text.
Molina Visuals The Sixteen

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 8:10 am

The words of the Stabat Mater come from an ancient Latin text describing Mary weeping at the cross over her son, Jesus. While the Catholic poem has been set to music by many — from Vivaldi to Arvo Pärt — three contemporary composers have put their own spin on the old verses.

Alissa Firsova was born in Moscow, but has lived in England since she was 4.

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Arts & Culture
1:06 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

The Hills Are Alive With The Sounds Of The Holidays

Kerrville’s Symphony of the Hills will soon be filling those hills with music. I  spoke with its Assistant Conductor Gene Dowdy.

“It’s our annual holiday concert and one of the most spectacular parts of this concert is that we feature our Grand Symphony Chorus under the direction of Linda Ables, so we get the chorus and the orchestra together; it just makes for an impressive evening.”

[Hit 'Listen' above to hear a sample of what they will be playing]

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