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

A Musical Conversation

We often speak of chamber music as being a conversation among musicians.  In order to carry on an interesting conversation there is respect one for the other, contributions from one or another that carry the conversation forward and a sense of commonality, community and harmony.  So when you are privileged to hear such a conversation rendered in music, it’s easy to imagine that this is precisely what the composer had in mind.  Such was the musical conversation we heard last Sunday, the 10th of November.  The Ariel String Quartet, augmented but never overpowered by the artistry of San Antonio Symphony Principal Clarinetist Ilya Shterenberg, performed not just intensely, but interestingly.

 The Quartet led off with Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 8.  The Program Notes said that in July, 1960, he was supposed to write the score of a film about the horrible firebombing of Dresden; instead, he composed the achingly sad Quartet No. 8 which he dedicated to victims of war.   Somewhere at the depth of this performance, I reflected on the nationalities of the artists – not something that usually draws my attention.  But the fact that they represented cultures that had been scarred by war made the music all the more poignant.  The two Largo movements, performed with so much soul (for want of a better word) were simply heart-breaking.

For the Mozart Clarinet Quintet and for the Weber Clarinet Quintet, Ariel was joined by a master of the clarinet, Ilya Shterenberg.

For the Mozart Clarinet Quintet and for the Weber Clarinet Quintet, Ariel was joined by a master of the clarinet, Ilya Shterenberg.  To the great good fortune of San Antonio, Mr. Shterenberg is a major artist in our own Symphony Orchestra and it was a pleasure to experience his magic at such close range. He has performed with the Ariel previously and knows each musician and this friendship was evident in the blending and joyful conversations among the quartet and the virtuoso.

Finally, the Ariel Quartet performed a very familiar composition, Schubert’s Quartet in D minor (“Death and the Maiden”).  They didn’t just dust if off and launch into the well-known movements; they made it their own, interpreting Schubert’s lyricism and bringing this beautiful composition to life.  The saddest aspect of this music was not the death of the young girl but the death of the composer, at age 31, shortly after this complex and masterful expression of genius was written.

Continuing this stellar season of the San Antonio Chamber Music Society, we invite you to join us for the Akropolis Reed Quintet Sunday, January 26, 2020, at 3:15 p.m.  The prize-winning Akropolis is an ensemble of five young and energetic performers whose performance has been described as “pure gold.”  You may just change your mind about the versatility and artistry of reed instruments!

– E Doyle

Ariel String Quartet with Ilya Shterenberg

Ariel String Quartet with
Ilya Shterenberg

November 10, 2019

“…impassioned, fiery performances…”

Distinguished by its virtuosity, probing musical insight, and impassioned, fiery performances, the Ariel Quartet has garnered critical praise worldwide over the span of nearly two decades.  Formed in Israel as teenagers at the Jerusalem Academy Middle School of Music and Dance, the Ariel was named recipient of the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, granted by Chamber Music America in recognition of artistic achievement and career support. The ensemble serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where they direct the chamber-music program and present a concert series, in addition to maintaining a busy touring schedule in the United States and abroad. 

 Joining them in concert is our own San Antonio Symphony Principal Clarinet  Ilya Shterenberg who is also Principal clarinetist of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra (Columbus, OH).  Ilya Shterenberg balances a busy career as an orchestral musician, chamber music performer, and a soloist. Hailed by the press: “He possesses that miraculous gift of an innate musical sense…music seemed to flow toward the infinite, as if divinely ordained”, Mr. Shterenberg’s performances have been heard on National Public Radio stations throughout the country as well as Chicago’s WFMT nationwide classical music network.

Program

SHOSTAKOVICH
Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110

MOZART
Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581

VON WEBER
Clarinet Quintet in B-Flat Major, Op. 4
Rondo: Allegro giojoso

-Intermission-

SCHUBERT
Quartet in D minor, D. 810,
“Death and the Maiden”

Members

Alexandra Kazovsky, violin
Gershon Gerchikov, violin
Jan Grüning, viola
Amit Even-Tov, cello
Ilya Shterenberg, clarinet

Venue

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

“…A blazing, larger-than-life performance…” - The Washington Post

“…a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power…” - American Record Guide

An audience set ablaze with amazing music!

Apollo’s Fire sent us over the moon! Thank you, Mike Greenberg, for putting into word all our thoughts and feelings from last Sunday’s concert!

Dance to the music, and vice versa

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date October 8, 2019

Searching for a word to convey the distinctive character of the baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire and its artistic director, Jeannette Sorrell, I settled on “presence” – the quality of fully inhabiting the present time, the present place, the present action, even the present body.

Listen to Barry Brake’s interview with Jeannette Sorrell of Apollo’s Fire

“Classical Connections”, October 2, 2019, KPAC 88.3FM.

Interview with Jeannette Sorrell of Apollo's Fire

by Classical Connection | Host Barry Brake

Apollo’s Fire

Apollo’s Fire

October 6th, 2019

“…reviving the baroque ideal…”

“Apollo’s Fire has forged a vibrant, life-affirming approach to the re-making of early music…
European ears have begun to appreciate the blend of intellect and artistry concocted by harpsichordist Sorrell and her colleagues. Their seductive vision of musical authenticity is guided by a shared commitment to honest emotional expression, rooted in period style yet never its slave.” BBC Music Magazine

“Apollo’s Fire, the lauded group from Cleveland, brings joyous spontaneity to its performances.”  The New Yorker 

“Never again even think that ‘classical music’ is boring. Never – if it’s done as well as Apollo’s Fire does it.” COOLCLEVELAND.COM

Named for the classical god of music, healing and the sun, Apollo’s Fire is a GRAMMY®-winning ensemble. The period-instrument orchestra was founded by award-winning harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell, and is dedicated to the baroque ideal that music should evoke the various Affekts or passions in the listeners. Apollo’s Fire is a collection of creative artists who share Sorrell’s passion for drama and rhetoric.

Hailed as “one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles” (The Independent, London), Apollo’s Fire has performed five European tours, with sold-out concerts at the BBC Proms in London (with live broadcast across Europe), the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), Madrid’s Royal Theatre, Bordeaux’s Grand Théàtre de l’Opéra, and major venues in Lisbon, Metz (France), and Bregenz (Austria); as well as concerts at the Irish National Concert Hall (Dublin), the Irish National Opera House (Wexford), the Birmingham International Series (UK), the Tuscan Landscapes Festival (Italy), and Belfast Castle with a live broadcast carried by the Associated Press of Europe.

AF’s London 2014 concert was praised as “an evening of superlative music-making… the group combines European stylishness with American entrepreneurialism” (THE TELEGRAPH, UK). This concert was chosen by the TELEGRAPH as one of the “Best 5 Classical Concerts of 2014.”

North American tour engagements include sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall (2018), the Tanglewood Festival (2015 and 2017), the Ravinia Festival (2017 and 2018), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY (2013, 2014, and 2015), the Boston Early Music Festival series, and the Library of Congress, as well as concerts at the Aspen Music Festival, Caramoor Festival, and major venues in Toronto, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The ensemble has performed two major U.S. tours of the Monteverdi Vespers (2010 and 2014) and a 9-concert tour of the Brandenburg Concertos in 2013.

At home in Cleveland, Apollo’s Fire frequently enjoys sold-out performances at its subscription series, which has drawn national attention for creative programming.

Program

VIVALDI: The Four Seasons – Rediscovered

Members

Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra

Venue

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

“First rate… rendered with consummate skill and artistry…”

- New York Times

“Electrified and sparkling. If this concert didn’t shake your rafters, then nothing will.”

- Sarasota Herald Tribune

Season 77th: A Constellation of Stars

Season 77th: A Constellation of Stars

Come and be dazzled and catch some stardust!

Take a look at our stellar line up below and buy your season tickets now!

Apollo’s Fire

October 6, 2019

Named for the classical god of music, healing, and the sun, APOLLO’S FIRE is the international baroque orchestra based in Cleveland, Ohio. The GRAMMY–winning ensemble was founded by harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell, to revive the baroque ideal that music should evoke the various Affekts or passions in the listener. Apollo’s Fire is hailed as “one of the pre–eminent period–instrument ensembles” (The Independent, London). It is renowned for its creative programming,  artistic spontaneity and technical excellence.

Ariel String Quartet with
Ilya Shterenberg

November 10, 2019

Distinguished by its virtuosity, probing musical insight, and impassioned, fiery performances, the Ariel Quartet has garnered critical praise worldwide over the span of nearly two decades.  Formed in Israel in 2000 when they were still teenagers, the Ariel Quartet went on to win the Grand Prize and Gold Medal at the 2006 Fischoff  National Chamber Music Competition, as well as the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award in 2013. Joining them in this concert is their long-time friend Ilya Shterenberg – Principal Clarinetist of the San Antonio Symphony, who has been hailed by the press: “He possesses that miraculous gift of an innate musical sense…music seemed to flow toward the infinite, as if divinely ordained”.

Akropolis Reed Quintet

January 26, 2020

Now celebrating their 10th anniversary, the Akropolis Reed Quintet was founded in 2009 at the University of Michigan and is the first reed quintet in history to win a Fischoff Gold Medal (2014) as well as the Fischoff Educator Award. They were also awarded the Grand Prize at the Plowman and MTNA national competitions, and 6 national chamber music prizes in total. Hailed by Fanfare Magazine for their “imagination, infallible musicality, and huge vitality,” the San Francisco Chronicle dubbed Akropolis’ recent third album release, The Space Between Us, “pure gold.”

VOCES8

March 1, 2020

The inimitable British vocal ensemble VOCES8 is proud to inspire people through music and share the joy of singing. Touring globally, the group performs an extensive repertory both in its a cappella concerts and in collaborations with leading orchestras, conductors and soloists. Versatility and a celebration of diverse musical expression are central to the ensemble’s performance and education ethos. “The singing of VOCES8 is impeccable in its quality of tone and balance. They bring a new dimension to the word ‘ensemble’ with meticulous timing and tuning.” (Gramophone)

Parker String Quartet

April 26, 2020

Inspiring performances, luminous sound, and exceptional musicianship are the hallmarks of the Grammy Award-winning Parker String Quartet. Renowned for its dynamic interpretations and polished, expansive colors, the group has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation. “..something extraordinary” (New York Times) “..exceptional virtuosity [and] imaginative interpretation” (The Washington Post).

Get Your Season Subscription Today!!!

A complete Season is only $100 (Seniors $75) and includes a Bonus Ticket for a friend! Plus: any ticket may be used for any concert of your choice! This is the best deal in town!

Exquisite Balance

I believe that I now understand “balance” as the word applies to musical groups as well as to the music they chose to play.  I heard an exquisite balance of piano, cello and violin and I enjoyed the perfect – if unlikely – balance of three compositions from three centuries and sensibilities.

First, the performers.  David Finckel, an amazing cellist (and, believe me, as a cellophile I know my celloists) provided the warm, rich music that supported the ensemble.  Philip Setzer, master of the violin, gave each composition the soaring songs required by each composer – even Mendelssohn’s notoriously impossible Scherzo movement.  And Wu Han, hair and fingers flying, demonstrated her deep mastery and understanding of the music she performed.   And this trio worked.  They blended, they were precisely contrapuntal and they obviously enjoyed the performance.   Their music laughed and cried, was joyous and profoundly tragic – all in perfect balance.

Their music laughed and cried, was joyous and profoundly tragic – all in perfect balance.

The music performed by these masters should never have been blended into a single program, but again there was such beautiful balance.  Beethoven, Shostakovich, Mendelssohn: three gifted composers from three entirely different sensibilities.  Beethoven writing fashionable court music, earning his always precarious living by pleasing and surprising his audiences with intricacies and novelties; Shostakovich, literally taking his life in his hands by composing music that warily thumbed its nose at Stalin while contributing to the great artistic tradition of Russia; and Mendelssohn, the Romantic, who wove together threads of Judaism and Christianity to produce a golden fabric of pathos and compelling religiosity.  These three great composers should never have appeared on the same program, but they did and the program was perfectly balanced by their respective geniuses.

And this is exactly what the San Antonio Chamber Music Society aims to do and has done for 76 years now.  We strive always to provide a balanced season of international performers and superb music.  We hope you have enjoyed the season and, with us, you look forward to the 77th season of artistry and our special brand of Sunday afternoon escapism. Our next star-studded season will begin October 6, 2019, with Apollo’s Firea Grammy-winning Baroque ensemble you don’t want to miss. The season continues November 10 with the dynamic Ariel String Quart with Ilya Shterenberg, who just happens to be the Principal Clarinet of our very own San Antonio Symphony. Then, on January 26, 2020, we will present the incomparable Akropolis Reed Quintetdescribed as “pure gold” by the San Francisco Chronicle. On March 1, 2020, the impeccable and wildly popular British vocal ensemble VOCES8 will cross the pond to inspire us with their eight beautifully integrated voices. Our 77th Season will end on April 26, 2020, with the exceptional Parker String Quartet, another Grammy award winner which the New York Times called “something extraordinary”.  As you can see, there will be something for everyone, all fabulous performances to be enjoyed – do come share this enjoyment with us! 

– E Doyle

Pin It on Pinterest