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

SOLI Finds Solace In Creating SOLIcitudes

SOLI Chamber Ensemble
SOLI Chamber Ensemble
David Mollenauer, Stephanie Key, Ertan Torgul, Carolyn True

Like most other music groups, SOLI Chamber Ensemble has been sidelined by COVID-19. But they're finding their musical way through the cultural wasteland that is the coronavirus.  

Stephanie Key plays clarinet with SOLI and the San Antonio Symphony. As to how the ensemble distinguishes itself as a chamber group, SOLI doesn't so much as look back, but forward.  

"We focus on the music of our time. Living composers, people that are living through the extreme experiences that we are," she said.

So now that all public performances are off, what to do? Playing off the name SOLI, the group has created weekly musical events called SOLIcitudes.  

Credit Bill Anderson
Stephanie Key on Wyoming mountaintop.

"To give people a little bit of solace. And that's basically what solicitude means. It's caring for other people's safety and comfort," Key said.

This week's music was created by Key, and its inspiration is a dramatic print of two bulls she saw at the McNay Art Museum. 

"Throughout it, you'll hear coyotes and wind. But most of the sound you hear actually coming from the bass clarinet, like the hooves are absolutely the sound of me clicking the bass clarinet keys," she said.

In the music, the moment of contact when both bulls’ horns meet is riveting.

"It's just a picture to me of power and courage, which is actually the name of the piece," she said.

This episode becomes available to be seen on SOLI's website Wednesday, July 29, at 5 p.m. And by the way, yes — this is the Stephanie Key we spoke to back in March about having contracted COVID-19.

"I am so happy to tell you I'm 100%, 150% well, and I feel great," she said.

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