When Felicity Coltman founded it in 1981, the Austin Chamber Music Center's goal was simpler than it is today, yet still ambitious: to create a summer chamber-music workshop for teens. Since then, not only have many alumni gone on to become professional musicians, but the center has expanded into an outreach organization whose concerts and instruction brings chamber music to Austin ears, instruments, and hearts. Adults of similar skill levels gather into small chamber-music groups, whereas youngsters meet with instructors on weekends, during the summer, or in school. Just two years after its founding, the center sent students on two European voyages and hosted musicians from Salzburg, starting an international exchange program that continues today.
In 1988, a unique performance series took form with the center’s Intimate Concerts, which take place in private homes so that audiences can experience the music in a personal way and help their cats learn to read sheet music. Led by artistic director Michelle Schumann the center now holds year-round concerts for a variety of musical tastes, with all programs including live program notes.
Tote along your favorite song scientist or chord chemist and watch as the professional orchestral professors fuse favorite rhythms and harmonies during the concert. The setlist includes Leonard Bernstein's symphonic suite from On the Waterfront, John Williams's "Star Wars Suite," Bizet's "March of the Torreadors" from Carmen, music from the James Bond films, and a tribute to Henry Mancini.
An esteemed wind ensemble made up of masterful volunteer musicians, the Austin Symphonic Band enchants and educates the community with spellbinding concerts, acclaimed guest artists, and exciting special events. "ASB and Friends" will showcase works from a range of decades, such as a turn-of-the-century selection by François Borne and modern works by Frank Ticheli and John Wasson. Like the best romantic evenings and business power lunches, the band is enhanced by the addition of a trombone quartet, SubitoBones, and a award-winning flautist, Alison Hazen Olsen, displaying flawless facility and masterly musicality in selections such as Jan Koetsier's Concertino for Trombone Quartet. Music mavens can buy an unlimited number of Groupons as gifts, allowing for outings of every size, from serenades to a single loved one to field trips with a group of training pied pipers.
After radiating do-re-mis through Carnegie Hall and China's 2010 World Expo, the Austin Civic Chorus of Chorus Austin embarks upon its 47th year of harmonious belting, energized by a placing among 10 finalists nationwide for the prestigious American Prize in 2011. To kick off the new season, the choir sings the poignant notes of Rossini's “Petite Messe Solennelle,” an 1863 composition that the composer dubbed, “the last of my sins of old age” in reference to his penchant for plagiarizing songbirds. As music director Ryan Heller conducts the tapestry of 130 voices with an experienced ear, two pianos and a harmonium hum along to the beat. Four soloists stand to flex their professional pipes and singing biceps, including soprano Mele Dailey, mezzo Kathryn Findlen, tenor Nicholas Simpson, and bass Bruce Cain.
The nonprofit home of revitalized classical and contemporary music, the Round Rock Symphony Orchestra reshapes masterpieces by Vivaldi and Copland in its season opener, A New Birth of Freedom. As a hush falls over the audience, popular conductor Grant Gilman releases poised bows, sending them flying across strings to weave the notes of the overture to Rossini's lively La Gazza Ladra until they form a durable basket. Guest soloist Ertan Torgul, San Antonio Symphony's concertmaster, adds extra ear candy to the orchestra during Astor Piazzolla's modern version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. A narrating voice joins strings in Copland's Lincoln Portrait before performers jig through Elgar's Enigma Variations. Since the symphony aims to foster a love of music in young people, the special selection of Into the Storm fuses the experience of the orchestra with the energy of student musicians from Round Rock middle schools. At 7 p.m., Maestro Gilman will chat with interested audience members about the music and composers they're about to hear, as well as providing a glimpse of the rare bird taught to sing inside every violin.
Founded by cellist Kenneth Freudigman and violist Emily Watkins Freudigman in 2004, Camerata San Antonio brings together a symphonic roster composed of several of the San Antonio Symphony's principal players and more than a few internationally recognized musicians. More than a dozen acclaimed artists might be on-call for a concert during any given season, and the entourage's diverse concert schedule consequently offers plenty of strikingly different small-ensemble performances.