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Mozart Festival Offers Much More

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The dog days of summer are filled with great music! Don’t believe me? Head to the University of the Incarnate Word this week, where the sixth annual Mozart Festival Texas is taking place.

Zachary Ridgway, a current board member and past performer at the festival himself, says the organizers formed the festival after seeing an opportunity in August. Mozart Festival Texas falls between the Cactus Pear Music Festival and the start of the traditional San Antonio Symphony concert season in September. “We have great ability for artists,” Ridgway explained.

Among the performers appearing at the festival this year are the South Texas-based educator and clarinetist Gary Fair, pianist Rick Rowley playing four Mozart sonatas on one afternoon (July 31), and Younggun Kim, a 2012 medalist at the San Antonio International Piano Competition. Kim joins the Mozart Festival Orchestra for the “Jeunehomme” Concerto of Mozart.

But like the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York and the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, Ridgway explains San Antonio’s Mozart Festival Texas is open to contemporary works that complement and diversify the program and offer the musicians a chance to shine in varied repertoire.

For example, the August 6 program includes Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1, nicknamed “Classical.” Prokofiev’s music is “very much an homage to Mozart, Haydn, and early Beethoven,” Ridgway says.

When it comes down to it though, Mozart is the heart of the festival. His music is something that anyone can enjoy, according to Ridgway. “There is in Mozart’s finest moments a studied simplicity,” he says. “There is a directness of communication and expression. A balance of complex sophistication that you could spend your life taking apart with analysis…and yet there is an open level that I think is available to anyone, of just amazing sumptuous musical beauty. Mozart aims at everyone.”

Adding that their number one goal is to build attendance at the festival, Ridgway notes with hope, “I think there is a huge audience within San Antonio that would love to hear this music…and we just need to connect to them. Music making is never complete when it’s alone!”

Learn more about Mozart Festival Texas online at mozartfestivaltexas.org. Concerts are held July 29-August 6 in the concert hall on the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word.