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KPAC Blog

The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. Scroll down for feature writings about the music played on air as well as other interviews and essays about classical music. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

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Continuing our series on classical music and kids, composer Nico Muhly argues that the experience that taught him most about the intersection between emotion, action and music was playing Nintendo. Did specific music hold you enthralled as a young gamer? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Courtesy of the Criterion Collection.

A painter may paint a picture, a composer may write a beautiful melody for solo piano, but in the world of the theater (and here I count motion pictures as well), one person may have a vision, but production is a collaborative art. W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan worked together on a total of 14 comic operas, of which “The Mikado” is far and away the most popular, and arguably the best. Two new releases from the Criterion Collection highlight the work of Gilbert and Sullivan in different ways.

Theodore Presser

"There are not many composers in the modern world who possess the lucky combination of writing music of substance and at the same time exercising an immediate appeal to mixed audiences. Zwilich offers this happy combination of purely technical excellence and a distinct power of communication."

Subito Music Corp.

Judith Lang Zaimont’s music is internationally acclaimed for its drama and expressiveness and has been programmed around the globe by major ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore and Mississippi Symphonies, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Czech Radio Orchestra, Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, Women’s Philharmonic, Connecticut Opera, New York Virtuosi, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestras (New York and Boston), American Guild of Organists, Harlem String Quartet, International Double Reed Society, World Viola Congress, Norway’s Bergen Wind Quintet, Zagreb Saxophone Quartet and others.

Kino Lorber

The Canadian pianist Glenn Gould had a storybook entrance into the concert world. A famous concert in Washington D.C. of highly unusual repertoire (for the time) drew rave reviews, and shortly thereafter an exclusive recording contract with Columbia, one of this country’s biggest labels. Gould’s first release should have left classical listeners cold; he chose to an abstract sleeping pill written by J.S. Bach for a student’s insomniac patron. But surprising everyone, the album became a best seller which has not gone out of print in 55 years.

As an African-American, George Walker had no prospects for a career in 1940s America. But incredibly, by 1996 he would be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music.

Walker was born in 1922 in Washington, D.C.  He began piano lessons at age five, and entered Oberlin at 14 and the Curtis Institute at 19, after meeting Rudolf Serkin, who took him as a student there. Walker completed a Doctorate at Eastman.  He would then continue to study in Europe with Nadia Boulanger.

Johann Sebastian Bach's music is known for its symmetrical structure and mathematical patterns. But pianist Simone Dinnerstein thinks Bach's deviations from those patterns are what make the music so compelling.

©Disney. All rights reserved.

Whenever I’m asked to name my favorite Disney movie, I usually hesitate for a moment before answering “Fantasia.”  Not because my love for the film is any less than, say, Dumbo or Bambi, but because “Fantasia” is so strikingly different than any Disney film before or since, except for—you guessed it—"Fantasia 2000.”

Maria Callas defined what it meant to be a diva. And Callas remains one of the towering figures of opera. But, exciting as Callas was as a performer, her voice began to decline while she was still relatively young. Experts and fans alike continue to question what exactly happened to a voice that was both exhilarating and controversial.

The year was 1952, and Callas was performing what would become one of her legendary roles -- Bellini's Norma -- at London's Covent Garden.

John Clare

Enjoy two selections from YOSA on tour in China, from Hong Kong here is the Spring Festival Overture

And the combined orchestras of YOSA with the Hong Kong Youth Symphony in The Moldau; both are conducted by Troy Peters.

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