Even though he’ll be appearing this summer at the Cactus Pear Music Festival in San Antonio, for cellist Lachezar Kostov, his Tuesday Musical Club recital on April 12 at Christ Episcopal Church served as a sweet farewell to San Antonio, where he has served as a member of the San Antonio Symphony since 2013. Kostov has accepted a position with the Baltimore Symphony beginning in the fall.
In fact, it was Christ Episcopal Church where Kostov and musical partner Viktor Valkov debuted in the city. “San Antonio was the first place as a city—and the San Antonio Symphony as an institution—that gave me a chance,” he remembers. “I consider myself a San Antonian right now,” he says, adding that the city has much to be proud of, from the Tobin Center (“one of the best halls in America”) to the many chamber music organizations that “bring such life to the city.”
Although he’ll miss the Alamo City, Kostov says he’s looking forward to his new gig with a “legendary orchestra” that has made a name for itself for premiering new American music.
Valkov and Kostov have been friends since 2002, and share a common Bulgarian heritage as well as musical partnership. Both are also working toward a doctorate at Rice University. As a duo, Kostov says they “really push each other in a great way, both musically and personally.”
Kostov’s recital with Valkov went deep into the Eastern-European tradition for their recital. Both Valkov and Kostov were excited to play Zoltán Kodály’s Sonatina for Cello & Piano, “a really beautiful piece that deserves to be played more,” according to Valkov. Belá Bartók’s Rhapsody No. 1, with its loping march movement and sing-song melody of the final movement, may be the Hungarian composer’s least avant-garde music, according to Kostov, but it still had plenty of “crunch,” as he puts it.
But speaking of avant-garde, the concert opened with Beethoven’s Sonata No. 4 for cello and piano, a late middle period work by the composer that tricks the audience (and some performers) into thinking the players may be in slightly different keys, if only for a few bars. You can hear the performance in the concert excerpt below.
Reflecting again on the city he’s called home since 2013, Kostov said “The future is bright for music and the arts in San Antonio. We have some of the best restaurants in the country. And soon we will have some of the best music in the country as well, which the people of San Antonio deserve by all means!”
Hear the Kostov-Valkov Duo's recital on Performance Saturday this Saturday night, May 14, at 7 p.m. on KPAC 88.3 FM and KTXI 90.1 FM.