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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Summer Music Festivals, A Swipe Away

iPhone and iPad users have a great new app to explore classical music and live performances. Now in the Apple iTunes store, MediciTV Festivals is available for free. App users can stay connected following classical news through a Twitter timeline and medici.tv content from Facebook updates (shown on the right side of the screen.)

But the main treasure of Festivals is the ability to stream any single archive movie (one per day free), having a choice of concerts, opera, ballet, documentaries. Among the highlights are: Salzburg Festival, this year runs from today (July 19) to September 1. This coverage will include a webcast of Gustavo Dudamel conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand” – with eight soloists, four choruses and the 200 musicians of the SimónBolívar Symphony Orchestra! Also from Salzburg will be a live webcast on August 16 of Verdi’s Don Carlo starring Jonas Kaufmann, conducted by Antonio Pappano and directed by Peter Stein.

With medici.tv on location at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, there are many charming videos already made. With this summer's festival running from today (July 19) to August 4, offerings will include 25 events broadcast live, including a July 25 concert of Verdi and Wagner conducted by Valery Gergiev and featuring soprano Anna Netrebko and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel. On July 28, the Verbier Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary with a gala concert including Thomas Quasthoff, Evgeny Kissin, Yuja Wang, Ebène Quartet and others.

Another event, Plácido Domingo’s Operalia, an international opera competition, takes place in Verona, Italy, starting next month (from August 19 to 25) and the medici.tv app will broadcast the grand finale on August 25.

From August 20 to 30, they'll include the Annecy Classic Festival in France, with highlights on medici.tv including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic as orchestra-in-residence (Aug 20-22, 29-30) among 10 other live webcasts.

I watched a wonderful pair of concerts edited together, featuring the young pianist Khatia Buniatishvili at the 2011 Verbier Festival. She played the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto, an encore of Liszt, then it went to a solo concert with Liszt's Mephisto Waltz and a Chopin Nocturne.

It is an easy to use app, and the performances are inspiring. I do recommend using headphones or earbuds for the better sound, or if you use a bluetooth connection for speakers, that is even better.

John Clare is comfortable behind a microphone, streaming video or playing violin. A former broadcaster for NPR, John has previously worked with Voice of America, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and stations in Kansas, Nevada, California, and Pennsylvania.