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

San Antonio Symphony Returns To The Tobin Center This Weekend

newly spaced-out San Antonio Symphony members Wednesday, Troy Peters conducting
Steve Zeserman
Newly spaced-out San Antonio Symphony members Wednesday, Troy Peters conducting.

It’s been 11 months since the last San Antonio Symphony performance, but they’re back onstage this weekend. And Guest Conductor Troy Peters’ excitement was palpable.

“Yes, the Symphony’s going to be back on stage this Friday night and Saturday night. And they’re performing with a smaller orchestra, extra space on stage, with masks. But they are really excited about being back and in the Tobin Center,” he said.

His Wednesday morning guest conducting stint had a specific purpose: to get the players back to speed after their long time away from one another, and the Tobin Center.

“I was there to do the tune up and get the orchestra back into its setup on stage and getting used to things that are different from the way they normally work,” Peters said. “And they sound great. They’re a great orchestra. It’s like riding a bike; they get right back to it.”

Austrian Conductor David Danzmayr will conduct this weekend, and he’s chosen mainly Austrian music.

“A Haydn Symphony No. 34, and a Mozart ‘Divertimento.’ This Mozart ‘Divertimento’ is something Mozart wrote when he was just 16 years old, and it has so much joy and energy. I actually think of it as Mozart’s first real masterpiece,” Peters said.

But then there’s also an American piece.

“A piece by George Walker, a Black American composer that wrote this piece called ‘Lyric for Strings,’ one of the most gorgeous pieces of string orchestra music that anybody ever wrote.”

The last piece has curious origins.

“And also a piece you don’t hear very often called ‘Coventry,’ and it’s a memorial to Coventry Cathedral in England that was bombed in World War II.”

As to the symphony setup, there are fewer players, and they will be spread out on stage as COVID-19 protocol. But Peters said they won’t be the only ones spread out. The Tobin Center’s moveable seating allows for made-to-order seating styles.

“They actually have the seat set up with extra space between the rows,” Peters said. “And the hall is set up to accommodate just 275 people so everybody can have plenty of space and everybody who’s present will have a safe environment.”

Peters also said if you’re not ready to head to the Tobin, the Saturday concert is available for live streaming.

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