Concert Tickets Are $25 At The Door   •   Students & Active Duty Military Can Attend For Free!

Opening The Curtain

Ta-dah!  No, not big enough.  Ta-DAH!!  Better, but not there yet.
TA-DAH!!!

That’s more like it. Ladies and gentlemen and all the ships from Canyon to Woodlawn Lake, the San Antonio Chamber Music Society of San Antonio, Texas will soon open the curtain on a season unlike any in our 75 (yes, 75) years! You have enjoyed the music we have presented for many, many seasons, I hope, but this season’s programme (yes, it deserves the double-m and the e) is the best yet. Hang onto your hats, get out your credit cards and calendars and order your tickets for this diamond jubilee season.

October 15, 2017

Pacifica String Quartet with Sharon Isbin, guitarist

During their two decades of stellar performances, the Pacifica has earned its international stature with its virtuosity and style.  We have had the pleasure of their company in past seasons and are delighted to welcome them back.   Performing with them is the incomparable Sharon Isbin,  often called “the Monet of classical guitar”,  multiple Grammy Award winner and founding director of the Classical Guitar Department at Juilliard.  This will be an opening concert to remember!

November 12, 2017

Rebel Baroque with Matthias Maute, flute

Bearing the name of French Baroque composer, Jean-Féry Rebel, this quartet began in the Netherlands and has performed in every corner of the world since then.  They are known and admired for their interpretations of 17th and 18th Century music performed on period instruments.  Matthias Maute is a virtuoso performer, conductor and composer who won a JUNO Award in the category of year’s best classical music. This concert promises Baroque music at its finest.

January 21, 2018

Chanticleer

Twelve incredible male voices comprise the “world’s reigning men’s chorus” (according to The New Yorker).  They’ve won Grammys, they’ve traveled the world and they consistently delight audiences with their seamless blends and original interpretations of the classical genre.  We thoroughly enjoyed their dazzling performance a few years ago, as they quite literally filled the house with song.  Chanticleer founder Louis A. Botto was born in Texas and was a graduate of Incarnate Word College here in San Antonio. In the early 1970’s he was the director of the First Repertory Company of San Antonio. We look forward to having  Chanticleer in our midst to celebrate San Antonio’s Tricentennial.

March 4, 2018

American Brass Quintet

Five remarkable musicians, two trumpets, a horn, a trombone and a bass trombone combine to form a glorious sound.  They have premiered – premiered – more than 150 contemporary brass works and won Chamber Music America’s highest award in the process.  They have been in residence at the Juilliard since 1987, and at Aspen Music Festival since 1970.  They definitely know how to polish brass to a gleaming, lustrous brilliance. To make this concert extra special – San Antonio Chamber Music Society, as a partner in SA300, the Tricentennial celebration of our city, have commissioned beloved San Antonio composer James Balentine to write a special work for this auspicious occasion. Be there to hear this gift from SACMS to you,  San Antonio!

April 15, 2018

Orion String Quartet

Closing out a season you’ll wish could last forever, our dear friends, the Orion.  The Quartet in Residence at Lincoln Center, the Orion is known for standing ovation evoking performances.  They are famous  for the diversity of their programs, their blending of classical and contemporary – and the devotion of their fans (count us in!).  You can plan on an afternoon of textures, surprises and just beautiful sounds.  (Note:  this concert will be at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church, 227 W. Woodlawn at Belknap Place.)

Are you ready to celebrate with us our Diamond Jubilee?  This San Antonio Chamber Music Society season will be extraordinary, over the top, fabulous, gorgeous – where’s my Roget’s when I need it?  But you get the picture, so get your tickets, better yet, get a season subscription because you won’t want to miss even one of these concerts.  Tickets are always available here at sacms.org,  or drop us a check at San Antonio Chamber Music Society, PO Box 12702, San Antonio, TX 78212.  And don’t forget – students and active duty military are admitted free to all concerts.

– E Doyle

Calmus Ensemble

Join us on Sunday, April 23, 2017

A perfect blend of sound, precision, lightness and wit. These are the hallmarks of Calmus, now one of the most successful vocal groups in Germany. The ensemble has forged a refined sound which few groups achieve. The wide range of sound colors, the joy in performing that musicians convey on the concert platform, and their varied and imaginative programs are praised by the press time and time again. These five Leipzig musicians have won a whole string of international prizes and competitions, including the ECHO Klassik and Supersonic Award, and the reach of their activities is constantly expanding, taking them throughout Europe as well as to North and South America. In 2010 the quintet made its debut at Carnegie Hall, New York.

The musicians are tireless in their quest to discover new repertoire. Shaped by the centuries-old tradition of great German boys’ choirs, they are naturally at home in the vocal music of the Renaissance, the Baroque and the Romantic. The music of our own time is also a real passion. In all their ventures, there are frequently interesting partnerships with musicians such as the Lautten Compagney Berlin, the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, Hamburger Ratsmusik and the Frankfurt Radio Bigband. As this often means totally new repertoire in the area of contemporary music, over the years Calmus has commissioned numerous new works from composers including Bernd Franke, Steffen Schleiermacher, Wolfram Buchenberg, Mathew Rosenblum, Bill Dobbins, Michael Denhoff and Harald Banter, and the group has given many world premieres. It goes without saying that they revel in singing pop, folk and jazz, as well as chansons and golden oldies from the 1920s.

Part of their work is devoted to encouraging the up-and-coming generation, so teaching and workshops are part of their regular schedule, both at home in Leipzig and on their travels. It’s no wonder that Calmus, with its unique line-up of soprano, countertenor, tenor, baritone and bass, is gaining more and more fans worldwide.

“…a flawlessly blended sound, relying not only [on] seamlessly meshed vocal timbres but on ornaments placed with absolute precision across all five voices… the singers bring tremendous character and musical depth to their interpretations, conveying the tone and meaning of lyrics in a fashion that transcends the language of the lyrics.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“They infuse their singing with wonderful lyricism and exquisite expressiveness, they bring passion to their interpretations and they, quite simply, bring whatever they sing to glorious life.”

Deseret Morning News

Members:

Anja Pöche (soprano)
Sebastian Krause (countertenor)
Tobias Pöche (tenor)
Ludwig Böhme (baritone)
Manuel Helmeke (bass)

Program

“All the World’s a Stage”, a program of music inspired by the plays and poetry of the immortal bard, William Shakespeare.

Venue

Temple Beth-El
Address: 211 Belknap Place
Time: 3:15 PM

Les Amies, Our Friends, Too

Who needs the Oscars when you have friends like Les Amies?

If you had told me that a harp, a flute and a viola made a viable musical combination, I would have questioned your hearing if not your sanity.  OK, so I was wrong and you were right.  Somehow, these three widely different instruments can come together to produce heart-breaking harmonies and timing so precise that it is sometimes difficult to discern which instrument is playing the lead.  Les Amies, three distinguished musicians whose regular jobs are with the NY Philharmonic and teaching at Juilliard, realized they really enjoyed performing and creating music together as a trio – an unlikely trio, I think – and we are all the lucky beneficiaries of that enjoyment.

The music they performed for the fourth San Antonio Chamber Music Society concert this season was beautifully suited to their three (and sometimes just one or two) instruments.  It was a trip to another realm, far away from the hum drum and hustle of life (and Oscar Sunday) and out into the stratosphere, where every note and phrase has a life of its own.  They often invited us to “sit back and relax,” and that we did.  The music produced by this unlikely trio was somewhat akin to submerging into a warm bath.  It was peaceful music, such a welcome relief from the world outside Temple Beth-El.  Oscars, schmoscars!

It was a trip to another realm, far away from the hum drum and hustle of life (and Oscar Sunday) and out into the stratosphere, where every note and phrase has a life of its own.

Their program built to the Debussy, their last selection.  The Sonata pour flute, alto et harpe is devilishly difficult to perform with all its twists, turns, changes in tempo and keys, but it could have been written for these musicians.  They performed it effortlessly.

And I don’t know about you, but when as an encore they performed “Scarborough Fair,” I could have just cried.  (By the way, they will be recording a three-part piece including “Scarborough Fair” in the near future.)

So now we have three new amies.  Did you miss the Oscar hoopla?  Not I.  These three consummate musicians have certainly worked very, very hard to be able to produce their sound, but – to use a time-honored Texas saying – we never even saw ‘em sweat.

Harp, viola and flute?  You could have fooled me!

– E Doyle

Les Amies Trio

Join us on Sunday, February 26, 2017

One of the most exciting new ensembles to emerge in today’s music scene, “Les Amies” is the collaboration of three well established, highly esteemed, and much loved artists. New York Philharmonic Principal Players Nancy Allen, harp, and Cynthia Phelps, viola, join internationally renowned flutist Carol Wincenc to form one of the most dynamic trios that this particular instrumental combination can produce. Merging their individual skills of high artistry and extraordinary technical command, they explore a vast range of repertoire rich in color, texture and imagination. Each of these artists stand alone at the top of their field, winning first prizes in such competitions as the Naumburg, Israel International Harp Competition, Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, Concert Artists Guild and Pro Musicis. As soloists, they have been featured with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, New York, London, St. Louis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Minnesota and Hong Kong, as well as the chamber orchestras of England, St. Paul, Los Angeles and Orpheus.

All have performed, toured, or recorded with some of today’s most esteemed chamber groups, such as the Guarneri, Tokyo, and Emerson String Quartets, and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where they have also been seen and heard on “Great Performers of Lincoln Center Live”. They appear regularly in today’s top chamber music festivals including Aspen, Marlboro, Santa Fe, La Jolla, Mostly Mozart, Vail, Portland, Seattle and Music from Menlo.

Championing new music has been a priority for these artists; collectively they have commissioned works from the composers Lucas Foss, Joan Tower, Christopher Rouse, Peter Schickele, George Rochberg, Stephen Paulus, and Sofia Guibaidulina, among many others. Their representation on disc includes the recording labels of Deutsche Gramaphone, Telarc, Decca, Arabesque, Naxos, Virgin and Cala records.

As the name “Les Amies” suggests, they are long-time colleagues, and revel in the glory of their blossoming relationship as artists, bringing to their audiences the color and beauty of this unusual trio combination of flute, viola and harp.

“Our critics have looked back on the best of the 2013-14 season. And the winners are … well, the season isn’t a boxing match nor yet a drawing. But quality does separate the champions from the also-rans. Our choices are …. TRIO LES AMIES

Daily News Arts Critics

“I enjoyed hearing chamber music played by principal players of what is arguably the finest orchestra in the country. I also appreciated that the players varied the ensemble: all playing together, flute and viola, harp solo, and a large ensemble. And, finally, I loved the music that Trio Les Amies made. Their performance was intense yet joyful.” Joseph Youngblood

Members:

Nancy Allen (harp)
Cynthia Phelps (viola)
Carol Wincenc (flute)

Program

IBERT
Deux Interludes
Entr’ Acte

BAX
Elegiac Trio

RAVEL
Sonatine en Trio

-Intermission-

DEVIENNE
Duo in C minor Op.3 No.1 for Flute & Viola

FAURÉ
Après un rêve .. for Viola & Harp
Impromptu for Solo Harp
Morceau de Concours for Flute & Harp

DEBUSSY
Sonata pour Flute, Alto et Harpe

Venue

Temple Beth-El
Address: 211 Belknap Place
Time: 3:15 PM

Review: Aeolus Quartet

Take a close look at our SA Chamber Music logo:  see the swirl?  Thanks to the Aeolus Quartet, who performed a concert for us last Sunday, January 22, the swirl makes perfect sense to me.  Like the Nike “swoosh” signifies speed and aerodynamics, the swirl is a wrap-around sound of beautiful music.  Now I’m not saying the Mozart Adagio and Fugue weren’t close to musical perfection, and I love almost anything Aaron Copeland ever wrote, but the Barber Quartet and the Schumann Quartet were pure – well – swirl.  These very young, very talented musicians created a Temple-filling swirl of sound that was really glorious.

These four who comprise the Aeolus have already made their musical mark in the concert halls of the world.  Only nine years old, they are reaching the top of quartet glory.  They use American-made instruments – most of which are even younger than they – and they create a sound that can only be described as luxurious.  When they performed the Barber, I thought, “I know what he meant.”  I’ve heard that second movement, the “Molto Adagio,” many times, but this time I really listened.  And it was beyond solemn.

These four who comprise the Aeolus have already made their musical mark in the concert halls of the world. Only nine years old, they are reaching the top of quartet glory.

As for the Schumann, which Mr. Tavani said they had only performed in concert four times, well it was one of those performances you’d hope would never end.   Pure swirl.  It’s amazing that four very young musicians could understand the ideas and feelings of a Nineteenth Century master.  Much of what we consider “classical music” – that is, music composed in the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries – is appreciated as beautiful, inspiring, uplifting and even thought-provoking, but Schumann’s composition as interpreted by Aeolus was all of that plus ethereal.  I kept thinking, “I wonder if they had a chance to chat with Schumann.  They seem to understand what he was saying.”  (Did I mention that I’m a big Schumann fan?)

So I hope you enjoyed that Aeolus concert as much as I did and will continue to enjoy the swirl that SA Chamber Music offers.  There are two more opportunities to experience it:  February 26 (Les Amies Trio) and April 23 (Calmus Ensemble).  And don’t forget you can use any of this season’s tickets or bonus tickets to bring a friend or two who could use a good swirl!

– E Doyle

Aeolus Quartet

Join us on Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Aeolus Quartet is committed to presenting time-seasoned masterworks and new cutting-edge works to widely diverse audiences with equal freshness, dedication, and fervor. Violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce, and cellist Alan Richardson formed the Aeolus Quartet in 2008 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Since its inception, the all-American quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States and performed across the globe. They were the 2013-2015 Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School, and they currently make their home in New York City.

The Aeolus Quartet are Grand Prizewinners of the 2011 Plowman Chamber Music Competition and 2011 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. They were awarded First Prize at the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition, a Silver Medal at the 2011 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, and a Bronze Medal at the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in New England. The 16th Annual Austin Critics’ Table named the Aeolus Quartet their 2010-2011 “Best Ensemble.” The Aeolus Quartet has released two critically acclaimed albums of classical and contemporary works through the Longhorn/Naxos label which are available on iTunes, Amazon, and major retailers worldwide.

The Quartet has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia in venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Reinberger Recital Hall at Severance Hall, Merkin Hall, The Library of Congress, Renwick Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center.

“…smoothly meshed technique with a sense of spontaneity and discovery…”

Baltimore Sun

“A rich and warm tone combined with precise ensemble playing (that managed also to come across as fluid and natural), and an impressive musical intelligence guided every technical and dramatic turn.” Mark Satola

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“…worthy of a major-league quartet…”

Scott Cantrell

Dallas Morning News

The Quartet is named for the Greek god Aeolus, who governed the four winds. This idea of a single spirit uniting four individual forces serves as an inspiration to the members of the Aeolus Quartet as they pursue their art.

Members:

Nicholas Tavani (violin)
Rachel Shapiro (violin)
Gregory Luce (viola)
Alan Richardson (cello)

Program

MOZART
Adagio & Fugue in C minor, K.546

COPLAND
“Two Pieces for String Quartet”

BARBER
Quartet in B Major, Op.11

-Intermission-

SCHUMANN
Quartet Op.11, No.3 in A Major

Venue

Temple Beth-El
Address: 211 Belknap Place
Time: 3:15 PM

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