When the San Antonio-based Agarita ensemble performed at the Tobin Center in mid-June, it marked the first time live music was performed before an assembled audience in South Texas since the coronavirus pandemic shut down music venues in mid-March. In June, cases of COVID-19 were just beginning to spike in San Antonio. Now after weeks of an intense rise in cases, hospitalizations are declining, and live music is again returning with a series of Sunday afternoon concerts in August by Olmos Ensemble at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church.
“For the past seven years, the goal of the Olmos Ensemble in creating a summer concert series in August has always been to bring classical chamber music to San Antonio at a time when no other arts organizations in town are performing,” explained the group’s Executive Director, Renia Shterenberg, in an email interview. “Now, in the time of COVID19, our goal has taken on another purpose: to put our Olmos Ensemble musicians safely back to work, while at the same time helping classical music concerts become accessible again to San Antonio music lovers in a safe environment.”
With that in mind, attendance at all four of the concerts at Laurel Heights will be capped at 50 persons, and all staff and patrons will be required to wear masks, sit in designated, distanced spaces, and away from the musicians themselves.
The concerts are free, but reservations are strictly required, and may be obtained by emailing OlmosEnsemble@gmail.com or by calling 210-269-1925.
This Sunday’s program features all-Beethoven music, in acknowledgement of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 1770. Two enjoyable trios are on the bill, as well as a rare performance of “An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved),” one of the first examples of a composer writing a song-cycle, or a thematic grouping of songs. A San Antonio favorite, baritone Timothy Jones, will be joined at the piano by Jeffrey Sykes.
All four of the Olmos Ensemble’s concerts in August will take place at 3 p.m. at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church. Each program will also be broadcast live on KPAC 88.3 FM.