Classics à la Carte | Texas Public Radio

Classics à la Carte

Fridays, 7-9 p.m.

Every piece of music tells a story, and every story has a storyteller. We want to hear your favorite pieces of music, and the stories behind them. Let us know what you'd like to hear, and tell us why. Was "Carmen" the first opera you ever saw on stage? Did you get married to the strains of Mendelssohn? Perhaps you used to play an instrument yourself, and remembered marching to the strains of Stravinsky. Or maybe you're a just a good listener that loves sharing classical music with friends and family.

Email your requests and stories to We'll look up that favorite piece of music, and you might even be be contacted to be a part of the show.

Then sit back and enjoy as James Baker orchestrates "Classics a la Carte," Friday nights on KPAC 88.3 FM and KTXI 90.1 FM.

Sebastian Haenel

Sarah Willis, a member of the Berlin Philharmonic for 19 years, speaks of her new solo album, Mozart y Mambo, what it's like to be part of the Berlin Philharmonic sound and how she learned to dance to Cuban music.  



Rik Keller

In a pre-interview exchange of text messages between Classics a la Carte host James Baker and pianist Lara Downes, Lara asked: “Do you have my new recording of spirituals and freedom songs?” Later, in the interview, Baker spoke to Downes about the spirituals and freedom songs contained in the album “Some of These Days.” The conversation began with one of the oldest of Black spirituals, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.”

Rik Keller

Lara Downes describes these times as the "lost season," referring to the blanket cancellations of concert engagements practically every performing artist in the world is now suffering. She may be sidelined, but she is not silenced, musically or on any number of other topics related to music and its power to contribute to our conversations of race, injustice, and Covid-19. James Baker, host of KPAC's Classics a la Carte, recently talked to Lara about her background, her activist roots and making music in a time of pandemic.

When Sally Buchanan, board chairwoman of the San Antonio River Authority, passed away on Saturday, July 30, she left a legacy of civic engagement and development that included work with the San Antonio Conservation Society, the Witte Museum, AIA San Antonio, and with her husband Bob, owner and operator of the downtown restaurants Kangaroo Court and The Original Mexican R


Terry Teachout, writing in this week's Wall Street Journal, provides a strong argument that it's time to give another listen to certain American composers of the mid-20th century. He refers to "America's forgotten great composers," and he's very specific in citing a quartet of composers who were active over a span from 1940-1970. A casual listener to classical music may not recognize any of these men, yet they were quite well known in their day.

David Amram

Ask a dozen people "where does the American West begin?" and you are apt to get a dozen different answers. Ask four people that same question, as I recently did, and you might get a half dozen opinions (or more), as I did. Voodoo math? I don't think so. It's more to do with the complexity of the question and the (perhaps) impossibility of an answer. Nevertheless, it's interesting.

Throughout 2015 the world has been celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of Miguel de Cervantes novel, Don Quixote. We've also been celebrating on KPAC's weekly Classics a la Carte, focusing upon a variety of different musical tellings of the many adventures of Don Quixote and his sidekick, Sancho Panza.

James Baker

As I walked out of San Antonio's McNay Museum of Art this morning, after a wonderful interview with Linda Hardberger, I felt as though I were swimming upstream against an unstoppable current of children. They were there to tour the McNay's current exhibition of pieces from the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. I had only moments earlier been speaking to Mrs.