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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

YOSA Plans To Raise The Tobin Roof

Fall season for Youth Orchestras of San Antonio opens this week. Music Director Troy Peters told us that the program he has planned has a lot to do with the Tobin Center itself, where it’s happening on Sunday.

“It’s an amazing place to make a big sound. We’re going to play Saint Saens’ organ symphony.  It’s a spectacular piece. It blows the roof off the place.”

To do so they’ll use the Tobin’s little-known in-house organ. It's a great big thing that is mostly kept far below the stage, but to bring out and set up, takes several stage hands hours to execute.

“A lot of people don’t even realize that there is this electronic organ that’s part of the Tobin Center. It’s basically a giant synthesizer that has more speakers than you can imagine.  It’s a really remarkable instrument.”

This event itself is called Bella Plays Barber.

Bella Hristova is a Bulgarian-American violinist.  She’s just a really charismatic violinist. We’re doing another piece that really shows off the beauty of the Tobin Center, in the Barber Violin Concerto, and Bella plays it with this great romantic sensibility. And then she’s also playing a short piece by her husband, David Ludwig, who’s an American composer.  It’s a really beautiful piece of music as well.”

The guest musician motivation is a big part of YOSA’s technique for working with the young musicians--having distinguished guest players really helps focus them.  

“For Bella, she’s going to come in not only as a world class violinist who will perform with us, she’s going to teach a master class. The chance to work with her and hang out and have pizza between the breaks, and things like that. The same thing with Robert Brewer, this amazing organist, who will just give the musicians a bigger sense of what’s possible for themselves."

He gave another analogy to make his point.

"If you’re playing basketball and Tim Duncan shows up, you’re going to play harder.”

For more on this event, go here.