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Miro Quartet Outreach Event

Following an unusual performance (the audience got to vote on some of the pieces performed) on the SACMS formal series, the Miro Quartet gave a stimulating outreach concert for orchestra students at Lanier High School. Orchestra Director Ruben Zepeda brought some of his string students from Tafolla Middle School. Individual students were asked to identify the instrument in the quartet that had the melody at any given time. During a Q&A session, Mr. Zepeda asked about practicing. The Miro agreed that private practice is a necessary part of excelling in music and that it is better to do a little every day rather than cramming into one lesson. The outreach finale (which had ended the formal series concert on Sunday) was the enthusiastically received Orange Blossom Special.

Chamber Orchestra Kremlin with pianist James Dick Outreach Events

Russian string ensemble performs at Brackenridge HS

Author: Ursula Pari, Anchor publish date October 15, 2012

SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of high school students who have never heard a live classical chamber orchestra got a chance to experience one of the most famed ensembles to ever grace a stage when the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin played at Brackenridge High School Auditorium Monday morning.

The 17-piece string ensemble is on a Texas tour and only will stop at one other school in the state.

The San Antonio Chamber Music Society, which has been in existence for 70 years, made the arrangements for Misha Rachlevsky’s ensemble to make two stops in the city.

Red Priest Outreach Events

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SACMS was extremely fortunate to have Red Priest perform two outreach events on Monday following their performance on our series on Sunday March 4 at Temple Beth-El. The events took place at The Montessori School of San Antonio and at UTSA. The audience of 200 students at the Montessori school ranged in age from 6-14. The audience at UTSA was made up of orchestra students and faculty members.

It was fascinating to observe how well the Red Priest musicians interacted with the various ages of students. At the Montessori school violinist David Greenberg ducked behind the harpsichord where he secretly donned a red feathered mask, and then he jumped out with a yell and proceeded to prance around while playing a Vivaldi melody. Piers Adams, recorder player, and David demonstrated a baroque canon, which is like a round, by following each other while playing and winding up and down the aisles of children.

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At UTSA Red Priest set up on the recital hall stage. Students helped set up chairs for the audience to sit on stage so that the event could be intimate. I felt as though I was sitting in a music history class with the most fascinating and inspiring professor imaginable. The group began by explaining the origin of the word baroque, which means rough, as in rough like a pearl. Each musician spoke at some point, and they all told anecdotes about various baroque composers behaving in a rough and experimental manner. The explanations illuminated the character of the group’s wild and crazy performance style.

At the UTSA event I found myself wishing Red Priest would go on for hours. Both outreach concerts were of an unusually high standard. They were stimulating both in the sharing of the joy of making music, and in the motivating of learning about a specific era of “classical” music.

Submitted by: Allyson Dawkins

Aiana String Quartet Outreach Event

aiana quartet

On February 15, 2012 the Aiana String Quartet performed in an Outreach Concert sponsored by SACMS. At Clark High School they gave a lively demonstration of a string quartet “in progress” as they are pursuing post-graduate degrees in music under the tutelage of the Miro Quartet at UT Austin. Violinists Roseminna Watson, Hanna Hurwitz, Violist Mario Andreu, and cellist Jillian Bloom led discussion on the use of non-verbal communication in performing music. They explored the art of cuing, eye contact, and body movement. The high school orchestra students were a rapt audience and were obviously well disciplined by their teacher, Teresa Nugyen who is a violist.

American String Quartet Outreach Event

The American String Quartet took joy and music to the hearts of young under-served students on a hot, autumn afternoon in San Antonio. The Youth Orchestras of San Antonio has developed a free after-school program called Music Learning Center on the City’s West Side. It is modeled after El Sistema, a legendary music education program in Venezuela. The Center is located at Good Samaritan Community Services. Over 70 students participating in the YOSA program came to hear the ASQ.

Quartet members talked about their instruments and played movements from the program that they played on the SACMS series opening concert. My favorite was a fugue by Bach arranged by violist Daniel Avshalomov.   Cellist Wolfram Koessel explained that a fugue is similar to a round like Row, row, row your boat.

After the concert violin and cello students unpacked their instruments and played for violinists Peter Winograd and Laurie Carney, and Wolfram Koessel. I observed the interaction with the cellists who sat in a circle and were taught how to hold the bow properly, how to play a scale, and how to make a full sound. Students also played the Dies Irae which is quoted in music for their upcoming Halloween Concert. They got valuable tips from on pros on how to play that theme effectively.

This event was the first we have given for the YOSA Music Learning Center. We applaud them on their endeavor and hope to interact with them more in the future.

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins

Lafayette String Quartet Outreach Events


On April 4, 2011 the SACMS was fortunate to be able to present the Lafayette String Quartet in two Outreach Events. We started off with a fortifying and traditional breakfast for the quartet at San Antonio’s legendary El Mirador. Then Allyson Dawkins and Ken Bloom drove the quartet to Churchill High School where the quartet played and talked about some of the Elliott Carter String Quartet No. 3. The Carter work represents a landmark in modern string quartet writing that boggles the mind of most professional musicians. It was fascinating to watch the high school aged string students poring over the score of this very difficult work.

Later we all headed over to the Winston School for an afternoon concert. At this event the entire student body was ushered into the school gym where the concert was performed. After the concert which included some explanation, the students were able to interact with the musicians asking questions.

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins

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