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

Weekender: Edgy Art; Star-Studded Music; A Quartet In A Cave

Tom Summer
Axiom String Quartet in Cave Without a Name

From a new Art exhibit, to music in a really unusual place, to music in a delightfully usual place — the weekend holds the promise of lots of fun.  

First off, set your sights for downtown, specifically to the Briscoe Western Art Museum for an exhibit whose title conveys a lot.

“‘Into the New West.’ It's contemporary works from the Booth Museum,” said The Briscoe’s Meredith Balzen. 

Credit Jack Morgan
Shonto Begay's "Our Promised Road," 2007

Balzen showed me those nearly 50 works from the Booth. They are at the same time both accessible… and edgy.

"Yes, edgy! Similar to works in contemporary arts, the canvases are huge, as compared with the traditional western art, where they're not as big," Balzen said.

The West's sprawling, sweeping landscapes are mirrored in oversized paintings, works that breathe new life into the concept of western art.

“We have a pop art piece. And we have a piece that almost looks like Van Gogh's ‘Starry Night,’” she said.

Credit Jack Morgan
Kim Wiggins: "Fiesta Day on the Plaza," 2003

The exhibit is divided up into various themes.

“There are seven different thematic areas where you see the different themes come through — feminism, and commentary and environmental.”

Balzen said the exhibit's opening weekend also starts on Saturday their summer film series.

"Our first film of that is 'Lonely Are The Brave.' And there's free popcorn and beer," she said.

IF YOU GO WHAT: "Into the New West" exhibit WHERE: Briscoe Western Art Museum WHEN: hours vary, briscoemuseum.org COST: $10, $8 seniors, $5 retired military

Friday and Saturday night, the San Antonio Symphony honors John Williams, the man who gives Hollywood its music, says Zach Boeding.

"We're going to be doing really exciting works from his most famous movies that he's done, so Star Wars, Harry Potter, ET," he said.

Boeding says there’s no doubt that Harry Potter music is magic. He grew up reading the novels, then watching the movies. Playing the music from those movies is a big thrill.

"Oh, I think Harry Potter is always magic. And playing it is even more magical,” he laughed.

He says they're not just playing Williams music, but also music that inspired Williams.

"So we're going to be playing selections from ‘The Rite Of Spring’ by Stravinsky, and we're also going to be playing selections from Holst's ‘The Planets,’” Boeding said. “And then our concertmaster Eric Gratz is going to be playing the first movement of Tchaikovsky's famous violin concerto, which is sure to be really really awesome.”

A magical evening indeed.  

IF YOU GO WHAT: The Music of John Williams WHERE: Tobin Center for the Performing Arts WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday COST: $15-$81

Then on Sunday night, Dominika Dancewicz invites you to get down: 100 feet down below the ground in the area's most unusual music venue.

Credit Tom Summer
Axiom String Quartet in Cave Without a Name

"We love coming down to the cave, not only because it's a beautiful, unusual venue, but particularly because of its amazing acoustics," she said.

Dancewicz plays violin for the Axiom String Quartet, who is performing deep in Boerne’s Cave Without A Name.  

"This experience can be very powerful because it involves nature, in its most beautiful and magnificent."

The quartet will perform in the expansive Throne Room, which offers a breathtaking views of elaborate cave formations. But that experience is augmented wonderfully by the music.

"We are going to be playing a movement of Prokofiev string quartet,” she said. “We are also going to be playing a piece by Franz Schubert. It's going to be amazing."

The Axiom String Quartet proceeds from the standpoint that great music can be found in all genres.

"We are going to be playing a piece by Metallica, believe it or not, so it's going to be amazing. We are going to have even a Bollywood song. It's really quite unpredictable."

Actually, I would venture a prediction: this will be a fun concert.  

IF YOU GO WHAT: Axion String Quartet Concert WHERE: Cave Without A Name WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Sunday COST: $30

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