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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NPR Story
3:17 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

'Japanese Beethoven' Admits Fraud

Mamoru Samuragochi, a celebrated Japanese composer known as the "Japanese Beethoven" because he composed some of the country's most well known music after losing his hearing, is sending shockwaves throughout his country on Wednesday after admitting to using a ghostwriter. (Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)

Mamoru Samuragochi is known as the “Japanese Beethoven” because he composed some of the country’s most well-known music after losing his hearing. But it turns out he didn’t really write much of that music.

Samuragochi admitted on Wednesday he had a ghostwriter. That ghostwriter is now coming forward, and is suggesting Samuragochi might not even be deaf.

The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson from Tokyo.

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Music News
4:53 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Violin Worth $5 Million Makes A Safe Return Home

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:55 pm

Police in Milwaukee have recovered a Stradivarius violin and arrested three suspects in its theft. The instrument, said to be worth approximately $5 million, was stolen in a brazen armed robbery from the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra late last month. Mitch Teich of WUWM in Milwaukee reports on the violin's recovery.

Deceptive Cadence
4:14 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Seen The 'Brokeback Mountain' Movie? Now Watch The Opera

Tom Randle (left) and Daniel Okulitch star in the opera Brokeback Mountain.
Javier del Real Teatro Real

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 8:24 am

In 2006, at the 78th Academy Awards, the film Brokeback Mountain captured three Oscars and the attention of movie fans everywhere. That two handsome stars — Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal — played the lead roles helped propel the film's popularity.

But the tale of star-crossed sheepherders who fall in love on a rugged Wyoming mountain originated long before the film, as a tightly focused short story by Annie Proulx that was published in the New Yorker in 1997.

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Stolen Stradivarius Found By Milwaukee Police

A Stradivarius violin is pictured in December 2009 at the restoration and research laboratory of the Musee de la Musique in Paris.
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 10:26 am

Police in Milwaukee have recovered "Lipinski" – a 300-year-old Stradivarius stolen last month from a concertmaster as he was walking to his car with the rare violin.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, quoting law enforcement officials, says the instrument has been found:

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Deceptive Cadence
9:07 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Valery Gergiev, The Powerful And Polarizing Maestro

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) presents the "Hero of Labour" award to conductor Valery Gergiev, head of the Mariinsky Theatre.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 1:10 pm

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KPAC Blog
3:52 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Dvorak Festival Winds Down With Iconic 'New World Symphony'

Sebastian Lang-Lessing
KLRN

The last weekend of the San Antonio Symphony's Dvořák Festival is coming, but to begin we look back at last weekend’s "Rusalka."

“I was really proud and really happy with the result, and I think our understanding of Dvořák really changed with this piece," said symphony Music Director Lang-Lessing. "We really learned about Dvořák.”

Headlining this weekend are Dvořák’s Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, but as Lang-Lessing explained, before playing them the symphony tackles a contemporary piece by American Jennifer Higdon.  

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Arts & Culture
12:26 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Grammy-Winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet Coming Sunday To UTSA

Promo image.

Guitar fans and music lovers, there’s a program this Sunday you’ll want to know about. On Sunday, February 9, the UTSA Recital Hall hosts the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.

The Quartet has been together for 33 years and have accumulated multiple awards, including a Grammy. The music they play runs the gamut from bluegrass to Bach to jazz, according to UTSA Music Professor and guitarist, Matt Dunne.

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Music News
8:55 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Duke Ellington's Lost Opera, Forever A Work In Progress

Karen Marie Richardson (right) plays the title role in the Long Beach Opera's staging of Queenie Pie, the jazz opera Duke Ellington left unfinished when he died in 1974.
Bryan Frank Long Beach Opera

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 5:42 pm

Duke Ellington added more than 3,000 songs to the American music vault before his death in 1974. He also started composing what he hoped would be a great American street opera — which composers have spent 40 years adapting, trying to figure out what the Duke wanted for his unfinished opus.

But before you imagine soothing arias or boisterous trills and vibrato, let me stop you: Ellington's opera is very much a work of jazz.

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Classical Music
4:23 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

A Holocaust Tale Unfolds On Two Levels

Mieczyslaw Weinberg's opera The Passenger tells the story of an Auschwitz prisoner and a Nazi guard, whose lives continue to interweave after the the war.
Lynn Lane Houston Grand Opera

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 11:00 pm

Composer Dmitri Shostakovich called it a perfect masterpiece without ever having seen it performed. The Passenger, an opera about the Holocaust, was written nearly half a century ago, but was only given its first full performance just three years ago.

Now it's getting its U.S. premiere at the Houston Grand Opera. The opera is based on a story by a Holocaust survivor, with music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a composer who lost his entire family in the Nazi death camps.

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Simon Says
9:03 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Opera Star Renee Fleming Brings Grace To The Super Bowl

Opera singer Renee Fleming will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" live on Sunday night.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 11:00 pm

Who knows who'll win the Super Bowl tomorrow, but history will be made before the coin toss.

Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. She is the first opera star to be asked, and it seems so utterly fitting, both for the first Super Bowl to be played within view of the towers of New York, and in the 200th anniversary year of the national anthem.

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