Austin may not be New York City or even Houston, but for a casual town known primarily for its nightclub music scene, it has one of the most renowned opera companies anywhere in America. Many credit the success of the Austin Lyric Opera to maestro Richard Buckley, an internationally acclaimed conductor who was wooed to Austin’s opera company a decade ago and continues to draw some of the biggest talent in the singing world. Austin Lyric Opera puts on lush, fully realized interpretations of classics from Verdi, Mozart and Puccini, as well as a slew of more modern operas. The company also hosts a range of education and community programs, providing a rich blend of high art and accessibility in the city of Austin.
Why is the studio's schedule so packed with fitness-tinted dance classes? "Because sweating is fun," explains its slogan. Between yellow-green walls, professional dancers teach kids and adults how to cut rugs and stay fit at the same time. Classes like Zumba, Pilates-infused burlesque, and hip-hop dance classes let on-staff choreographers showcase skills they also employ for special events—customers commission them to polish their wedding and quinceañera dances.
. During 45-minute Kindermusik classes, tots stimulate their minds, bodies, and sense of play with diverse activities based on research demonstrating music's beneficial effect on childhood development. As pintsize hands bang out tunes on provided instruments, brains busy themselves with forming the connections necessary for multiple forms of intelligence, including spatial reasoning, interpersonal skills, and the ability to tell a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo from the synthesized parrot squawks on a Jimmy Buffet album.
The academy's roster of instructors dispenses private education on diverse instrumentation during 30-minute, one-on-one music lessons. Euphonic apprentices can open up their epiglottises in voice lessons, strum away on guitar, or prepare to marshal their army of G.I. Joes by beating some drum skins. Lessons are also available on the piano, as well as band and orchestral instruments. All students except drum and piano pupils must supply their own instruments for use during lessons, where they will learn a curriculum geared to their individual goals and interests. An extensive library of method books imparts the techniques to tackle any style of music and teaches students to read music, so that they're able to interpret the plotline of Mozart's romance novels.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Dancers, black belts, and trained yoga gurus, the instructors at The Synergy Studios come from all walks of life. They each bring a different approach to overall wellness to the school. Classes take place in the historic Pearl brewery in studios with soaring cathedral ceilings and honey-hued hardwood floors.
Zumba sessions fill the room with the rumble of moving feet and quick breaths. Contented sighs drift out during meditation and yoga courses, which balance physical fitness and relaxation and help contribute to overall wellbeing. Some sessions are designed for particular groups, such as athletes, expecting mothers, and groups who always have to stick together because of what they saw in a mysterious cave.
There are six orchestras in YOSA's orchestra program: the YOSA Prelude Strings, Capriccio Stings, Sinfonietta Strings, Symphony, Philharmonic, and Flute Choir. Although the Philharmonic draws in the most talented students in the region for professional-level concerts, all the orchestras guide students toward an enriched understanding of the world and the music within it. Together, they benefit more than 1,500 young people in the region—through direct involvement with the orchestra and through offshoot programs such as the free after-school instruction sessions on the west side.