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Arts & Culture

Mahler, Hill Country Art And Jazz: Your Weekend Is Here

Greg Harrison
San Antonio Jazz Fest

Let a Mahler symphony transport you. Watch a Texas town turn into artists’ studio. And then enjoy some jazz at Travis Park. The weekend is here and it’s packed with fun.

Sebastian Lang-Lessing with the San Antonio Symphony said their season opener at the Tobin Center will be big.

“It's all about Mahler and it's all about the 80th season of the San Antonio Symphony and the 75th season of the Mastersingers," he said.

Credit San Antonio Mastersingers

This year’s season opener will include the 140-person San Antonio Mastersingers, who play a role in the final act of the Friday-Saturday night production. 

Lang-Lessing said Mahler's 2nd, the Resurrection Symphony, had a curious beginning after finishing what would become the first movement.

"He presented it to a conductor, Hans Von Bulow, who said 'This is crap!' Years later he went to Von Bulow's funeral and he heard the poem The Resurrection by Klopstock," he said. 

Suddenly it was clear to him, that he needed to continue creating his second symphony. And what he wrote is one of classical music's most enduring.

"It's extremely accessible. And yet at the end of the day there is a directness and simplicity and naivete in it that is extremely touching," he said.

Lang-Lessing said experiencing Mahler’s 2nd is more than just a listening experience. You'll be transported.

"It takes you. You don't have to do anything; it will take you. And it will change you," Lang-Lessing said. 

IF YOU GO What: San Antonio Symphony Concert Where: The Tobin Center When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday Cost:  $12-$100

On Saturday, Julie Kuykendall said the hill country town of Comfort will itself be a work of art.

"This year is our seventh annual Comfort Art Festival. The businesses in town host an artist at their location,” she said. “They set up sometimes inside, sometimes outside."

She added a surprising number of accomplished artists live in Comfort, but many will come from elsewhere.

"We have artists from all over the hill country, as far away as Killeen. And we have over 35 artists going to be exhibiting this Saturday," she said.

Some of the artists won't just be exhibiting; they will be making art while you watch. Most everything in the 10 a.m.–4 p.m. event will happen on historic High Street, which is their main downtown thoroughfare.

"And then there's also a health and wellness fair own at the park, and so we'll be shuttling people between the two events,” Kuykendall said. “So it's a great weekend to be out in Comfort."

IF YOU GO What: Comfort Art Festival Where: High Street, Comfort When: 10 a.m. Saturday Cost:  free

Friday and Saturday, Adam Fleming said Jazz is Alive at Travis Park.

Credit Jerris Madison
Diane Reeves

"Tonight (Friday) starting at 5 o'clock on our main stage we've got Tomar and the FCs, a great soul band from Austin, Texas, followed by Will Own Gage and the Alamotones. And then our headliner Lao Tizer,” Fleming said.

The second stage features Rat King Cole and Tony Romero and the spiders. Saturday starts early with brunch crepes to order by Commonwealth.  

"The main stage will kick off at 1 p.m. with Adrian Ruiz, followed by the Jazz Protagonists at 2:30,” he said. “Ken Slavin at 4, the US Air Force Band Dimension in Blue at 5:30, the Aaron Prado Sextet at 7 o'clock, and of course, 5-time Grammy Award-Winner Dianne Reeves at 9 o'clock on Saturday.”

The second stage also has talent all afternoon and evening, including a new a codeup/Geekdom jazz-meets-tech event. Both nights have post-party parties on the St. Anthony Hotel Sky Terrace. And there's this:

"It is free admission to the park so we invite the whole city to come down."

Saturday daytime also features a lot of children's activities at Travis Park.   

IF YOU GO What: Jazz SA Live Where: Travis Park When: 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday Cost:  free

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