© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Symphony's New Concertmaster Says Classical Music Is "Sort Of Like Sushi"

Chance James
Eric Gratz

If you're reading this you've probably heard his work, but his voice? Probably not. Hit "Listen" to hear the story.

"I recently began officially with the orchestra," said Eric Gratz, the San Antonio Symphony’s new concertmaster, who said his love of music came from his musical family.

What does a concertmaster do?

"The concertmaster is a kind of link between the conductor and the orchestra," Gratz said. "The first chair violinist I am in charge of bowing the parts, and the principal string players will have to sort of plan accordingly to my bowing preferences. It’s a very important part, very time consuming actually."

And for someone like Gratz, who is also finishing his master’s degree at Rice University, time matters.

"He really -- in the short time he’s been with us -- has shown a lot of promise and had already quite a lot of influence, not only in the first violin section, but on the whole orchestra," said Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing.

To those disinclined towards classical music, Gratz conjures an unusual metaphor.

"It’s sort of like sushi in a way," he said. "People will make a very strong opinion about it before they’ve even tried it and they know what it’s about."

He has a passion for music, and he also has a message to San Antonians, especially one group.

"The younger people in San Antonio, just get out and see a concert," Gratz said. "It doesn’t matter what it is, just anything. To be in that environment, and to see a great, great symphony orchestra play, I highly recommend it."

You can see Gratz and the entire symphony throughout the Dvořák Festival.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii