San Antonio Symphony | Texas Public Radio

San Antonio Symphony

Jack Morgan / TPR Arts

Sebastian Lang-Lessing is gearing up for Thursday night’s opening of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Thursday I was at the last Ballet San Antonio rehearsal before the move into the Tobin and Lang-Lessing had acoustics on his mind.  

“There are two aspects to acoustics: There is the one, hearing on stage, but then there is the more important issue, how is the listening experience for the audience," he said. "And there are a lot of halls that are difficult onstage and wonderful in the hall. And there are other halls that are great onstage and bad in the hall.”

San Antonio Symphony

The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts opens on September 4, and San Antonio Symphony Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing described the new home for the symphony.

“I have to say it’s very chic. And it’s very stylish and modern, and yet amazingly intimate,” he said.

Lang-Lessing has been involved in the development in the Tobin for years. He said he thinks the Tobin will be the place for performing arts in the city, but he wanted to make this important distinction.

San Antonio Mastersingers

It’s not "The Voice" or "American Idol," but there are some vocal tryouts coming soon. No, you can’t expect to be dissed by tattoo’d rock stars, but you just might get to travel internationally if you pass the audition.

“We are looking for all kinds of singers, all kinds of voice parts," said Chancey Blackburn, the vice-chair of the San Antonio Mastersingers. "The chorus is made up of singers who have been masters of music performance, all the way to singers like me, with no formal training.”

I asked her what someone who is thinking of coming to try out can expect.

Each season, the San Antonio Symphony welcomes a handful of new musicians to its ranks…and this season, the orchestra welcomes a new assistant concertmaster. Violinist Sarah Silver is a Pittsburgh native whose father is a long time violist in the Pittsburgh Symphony. Her mother is a music teacher and orchestra director in the public school system. It’s not too surprising that Sarah ended up falling in love with music at a very young age.

On Tuesday, August 19, you’re invited downtown to a special pop-up performance featuring members of the San Antonio Symphony. As part of the city’s Downtown Tuesday initiative (offering free parking at area garages, special events, and restaurant deals), the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts will offer a special preview of their new performance space.

Esther Erbe

I've been doing a series with San Antonio Symphony musicians and how they are spending their summer vacations. Meet Nicholas Browne, who is one of the symphony’s newer members.

“In January I won the audition for the symphony, and in February I moved down to San Antonio and started the job,” he said.

The Pittsburgh native loves the city, the symphony, and his instrument, which is double bass.  

“It’s a difficult instrument,” he said.

I asked him to explain to people what a double bass is.

Steve Zeserman

If you ever see a list of people who are perpetually dissatisfied or unenthusiastic, here’s a name you won’t find there.

“My name’s Steve Zeserman and I play double bass in the San Antonio Symphony.”

His optimism is palpable, and you can hear it when he talks about anything. From his days in college at the Curtis Institute of Music:

“I guess it was similar to eating caviar every day for four years, the richness of the culture,” he said.

To landing his job with the San Antonio Symphony:

Janet Toomes

The San Antonio Symphony’s season is done and won’t start until September. So what are all those musicians doing with their time?  I found out at least one of them isn't exactly kicking back for the summer. Aimee Toomes, who plays violin in the symphony, was one of those kids who picked up an instrument early.

“I started playing violin when I was a fourth grader in public school, and 20 something years later I’m a violinist with the San Antonio Symphony,” she said.

She’s no slouch when it comes to how she learned her trade.

San Antonio Symphony Returns To KPAC July 26

Jul 15, 2014
San Antonio Symphony

Experience the beauty and drama of live and local classical music on KPAC 88.3 FM beginning Saturday, July 26, as Texas Public Radio presents the very best of the San Antonio Symphony's 2013–2014 artistic season with a handpicked selection of concerts. Relive these world-class performances or experience them for the first time on both KPAC 88.3 FM in San Antonio and on KTXI 90.1 FM in the Hill Country, Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.

Tobin Center

The San Antonio Symphony is marking a big landmark. Its first concert was 75 years ago this month.

Despite its age, the strapping, robust symphony has perhaps never looked stronger. Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing talks about the symphony’s first concert 75 years ago.

“It was actually June 12, the concert that Max Reiter did," said Lang-Lessing. Reiter was the San Antonio Symphony’s first conductor.

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