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Press

2017

Homecoming & other returns

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date October 18, 2017

Both of San Antonio’s most venerable presenting organizations opened their seasons in the past week. The Tuesday Musical Club has been around since 1901, but its Artist Series is just 95 years old. It opened with a collaboration by two local products in the early stages of significant careers, cellist Christine Lamprea and pianist Daniel Anastasio, Oct. 10 in Laurel Heights United Methodist Church. Then the San Antonio Chamber Music Society launched its 75th season on Oct. 15 with a concert in Temple Beth-El by guitarist Sharon Isbin and the Pacifica String Quartet.

An odd mix, perfectly melded

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date March 4, 2017

A mostly French program played by the top-drawer (if slightly oddball) Les Amies Trio, based in New York, made for a perfect afternoon on the San Antonio Chamber Music Society concert series, Feb. 26 in Temple Beth-El.

A père, a fils, and two American Romantics

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date January 28, 2017

Sometimes nepotism works out just fine. Former Seattle Symphony music director Gerard Schwarz, guest conductor for the San Antonio Symphony’s concert of Jan. 27 in the Tobin Center, brought along his son, cellist Julian Schwarz, who did a bang-up job in Tchaikovsky’s familiar Rococo Variations and an enjoyable if obscure trifle, Franz Danzi’s Variations on a Theme from Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

2016

Three Danes, one Norwegian, all polish

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date October 27, 2016

The supremely polished Danish String Quartet made its San Antonio debut with a landmark work of the 20th century, a fascinating piece from the present year, and a set of arrangements of Nordic folk songs of uncertain vintage. The concert, Oct. 23 in Temple Beth-El, opened the 74th season of the San Antonio Chamber Music Society.

Purrs like a kitten

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date April 6, 2016

The Dover Quartet, in its first appearance on the San Antonio Chamber Music Society series, called to mind one of those absurdly expensive Italian sports cars, combining top-drawer craft, nimbleness and luxury in equal measure. (One assumes, however, that the musicians – violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee, violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt and cellist Camden Shaw – will spend less time in the mechanic’s shop.)

Sounds from China, familiar and strange

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date March 3, 2016

The superb Shanghai Quartet returned to town on Feb. 28 with pipa (Chinese lute) virtuoso Wu Man and a program that leaned heavily to music by Chinese composers. The lone exception: Beethoven’s String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95, in one of the most luminous Beethoven quartet performances I can recall.

Round trip, Canada to Brazil

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date January 29, 2016

Concerts in recent days by the SOLI Chamber Ensemble and the Canada-based Gryphon Trio took Las Américas Music Festival to geographical extremes, with the world premiere of a delicious work by the Brazilian composer-singer Clarice Assad and two interesting pieces by Canadian composers.

2015

Acquaintance and reacquaintance

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date November 10, 2015

Strangely, for a prolific composer of great importance, Ernst Krenek is almost never heard from on concert programs hereabouts. The Zemlinsky Quartet from the Czech Republic mitigated the drought with a performance of Krenek’s String
Quartet No. 7, centerpiece of a program that also held works by Mendelssohn and Janáček, for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society on Nov. 8 in Temple Beth-El.

There will always be an England

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date October 14, 2015

Many years ago, I took a Caribbean cruise aboard Queen Elizabeth II, then the flagship of the storied Cunard Line. One evening a dinner companion, perusing the menu, commented invidiously about the virtues of English cooking relative to the French variety. Our unflappable (of course) English waiter observed dryly (of course) that the rival French Line had recently scrapped its whole passenger fleet, while Cunard of England was still going strong. There’s something to be said for the staying power of sheer competence, executing consistently without flaw, even if the results might not fully arouse one’s passions.

The strange in dialog with the strange

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date March 31, 2015

Some indisputably great musical works are so strange and idiosyncratic that a first hearing can puzzle — but also fascinate — even the most adventurous listeners. What on earth was that?

2014

A rare treat – chamber music from Italy

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date November 18, 2014

Most string quartets talk a blue streak (musically speaking) in German and are fluent in French, Russian, Hungarian, Czech and American, as well. Italian? Not so much, at least not in music after the baroque era, when the Italians ruled the roost. So it was a rare treat to hear an all-Italian program (without a baroque item in the bunch) played by the visiting Quartetto di Cremona, Nov. 16 in Temple Beth-El for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society.

Chamber music, high-minded and not

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date April 8, 2014

Somewhat odd programs, well played by the visiting Brentano String Quartet and the local Olmos Ensemble, were on the chamber-music bill for Sunday and Monday, respectively.

The Brentano may be remembered for a superb 2006 concert of landmark works that ranged from deep to deeper, comprising Schubert’s agitated “Quartettsatz,” Shostakovich’s mournful Quartet No. 15 and Beethoven’s Quartet in A Minor, with its slow movement a portrait of debilitating illness and recovery.

Romanticism, morning to dusk

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date March 4, 2014

The Escher String Quartet of New York visited on Sunday with elegant, somewhat contained accounts of works representing Romanticism in morning (Robert Schumann), mid-afternoon (Antonín Dvořák) and dusk (Alban Berg). The San Antonio Chamber Music Society presented the concert in Temple Beth-El.

San Antonio Chamber Music Society | Celebrating 71 Seasons

By Jack Fishman – OnTheTownEzine.com, January/February 2014

Seventy-one years ago, Dr. Eric Sorantin, an accomplished Viennese musician, established the San Antonio Chamber Music Society (www.sacms.org). The website describes the group’s humble beginnings: “The first concerts were held in the west wing of the Municipal Auditorium. Founding members provided oriental rugs and other furnishings to create the proper setting for the programs. Guest artists quickly grew from local to regional to national and international in prominence.”

2013

Brentano String Quartet appointed new faculty quartet-in-residence at Yale School of Music

By Dana Astmann – Yale School of Music, November 1, 2013

The internationally acclaimed Brentano String Quartet has been appointed the new quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music (YSM). The members of the quartet — Mark Steinberg and Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory ’89, viola; and Nina Lee, cello — will also serve as artists-in-residence. Their faculty appointment will begin in fall 2014. They succeed the Tokyo String Quartet, which retired in 2013 after 37 years at YSM.

A feast of chamber music, new and old

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date October 22, 2013

The American Brass Quintet’s concert, a rare foray into the brass repertoire for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society, ranged from the 16th century to the near-present. One of the troupe’s trumpeters, Raymond Mase, created idiomatic arrangements of Renaissance vocal material, three madrigals by Luca Marenzio and five chansons by Josquin des Prés. These sounded wonderful in the airy acoustics of Temple Beth-El, even if the spacious sound took a little of the bite away from Josquin’s familiar “El Grillo.”

Rigor in action, from Mozart to Miles

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date April 16, 2013

A few minutes before the Ebène Quartet began playing a superb concert on April 14, a subscriber and a board member of the sponsoring San Antonio Chamber Music Society conducted a frank exchange of views in the Temple Beth-El lobby. Their discussion concerned the propriety of the program’s second half, described as “Jazz and Pop Standards, re-imagined by the Ebène Quartet.” The subscriber fervently hoped the fall from classical graces would not portend a trend. I confess some suspicions of my own, but they were dispelled by the outsized intelligence, fierce discipline and untethered curiosity the French troupe applied to the more-traditional first half, which comprised Mozart’s sunny Quartet in C (“Dissonant”), K. 465 , and Felix Mendelssohn’s dark Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80. It was clear from these performances that the Ebène was constitutionally incapable of anything cheap.

Still more Brahms, and more

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date March 20, 2013

The bulk of the Brahms Festival occupied the month of February, but some welcome overflow extended into March, with important Brahms chamber works included in concerts by the Olmos Ensemble (March 11) and the distinguished cello-piano duo of David Finckel and Wu Han (March 17). The San Antonio Chamber Music Society was the host for the latter concert, in Temple Beth-El. Ms. Wu and Mr. Finckel are co-artistic directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Mr. Finckel has appeared several times previously in San Antonio in his capacity as cellist with the Emerson String Quartet. (Ms. Wu told the audience that this was her first visit to San Antonio.)

Vox populi

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date January 31, 2013

OK, so I’m no Nate Silver, but I did accurately predict more than half the races in the Jan. 27 vote. Three out of five, to be precise. The Miró Quartet, returning to town for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society concert series at Temple Beth-El, opened its program with an exquisitely refined account of Johannes Brahms’s Quartet in C Minor and then let the audience pick the works for the second half, dubbed “Quartet à la carte.”

Meet The Musical Mendelssohns: Felix And Fanny

By NPR Staff – Deceptive Cadence, Monday, January 28, 2013

Musical talent tends to run in families. Think of Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Colin and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, or The Jackson 5. But long before those musical siblings, there were the Mendelssohns — Felix and Fanny, the subjects of a new album by the versatile Ebène Quartet from Paris.

The Gift of Brahms

By Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Tuesday, January 22, 2013

San Antonio is forward-thinking in its support of the arts. The folks at performing arts organizations actually speak to each other and plan citywide festivals. Imagine that. Right now, there is a major Brahms festival going on and everyone, from the chamber music groups to the symphony, is involved. On Sunday, two groups, Musical Bridges Around the World and the San Antonio Chamber Music Society, joined forces to present a fascinating salon concert in a stunning home.

 2012

Miró Quartet with Anton Nel

Reviewed by Robert Faires, Friday, January 27, 2012

Eloquence doesn’t get much play in the age of the sound bite. We’re so wired for speed and informality that in most communication, a bluntness of expression holds sway. But in Bates Recital Hall last Friday, the Miró Quartet and pianist Anton Nel proved there are still places where thoughts are composed and conveyed with craft, where time is allowed for a range of feelings to be explored and for fine distinctions to be drawn.

Autumnal Beethoven, springy Brahms

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date October 19, 2012

The Chamber Orchestra Kremlin under its music director, Misha Rachlevsky, returned to town on Oct. 14 with the pianist James Dick, a beloved figure in San Antonio but too seldom seen here in recent years.

Their Temple Beth-El concert, this troupe’s fourth for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society, had Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto at its center. The Moscow-based string players held forth in works by Schubert, Tchaikovsky and Brahms.

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.

A walk in the moonlight, with a lighter step

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date April 3, 2012

The lush, perfumed chromaticism of Arnold Schönberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” is well known to concert audiences in its original 1902 scoring for string sextet and in the composer’s later arrangement for string orchestra. This expressionist, protomodern landmark appeared in a third guise as the centerpiece of a concert by the excellent Vienna Piano Trio, April 1 in First Unitarian-Universalist Church. The San Antonio Chamber Music Society sponsored the local tour stop.

An authentically freewheeling blast

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date March 6, 2012

A product of culture is never just an artifact, a thing. It is also a repository of the ideas, beliefs, practices, aspirations, limitations — the list goes on — of its historical context. Too, the way a cultural product is experienced is one of its essential qualities, and experience is unavoidably fluid, like the river you can’t step into twice.

Over the past few decades, musicians aligned with the “historically informed performance” movement have come reasonably close to reproducing the style and sonic character of music from the baroque period — the artifacts as they sounded at birth, to the extent that research has been able to illuminate.

 2011

A compelling conversation, set in motion by Elliott Carter

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date April 6, 2011

Why do some musical works last while others fade? There are lots of reasons, of course, but one doesn’t get enough notice: Some pieces are just more fun to play than others, and most musicians prefer fun over tedium. And if the music is fun to play, there’s a good chance it also will be rewarding to hear.

The members of the Vancouver-based Lafayette String Quartet seemed to be having a ball with Elliott Carter’s String Quartet No. 2 (1958-59), the centerpiece of a San Antonio Chamber Music Society concert that opened with Samuel Barber’s Quartet in B and closed with P.I. Tchaikovsky’s Quartet No. 3 in E-flat. Temple Beth-El was the venue for the April 3 concert.

Yo-Yo Ma encourages students to express themselves

By Cary Clack – San Antonio Express-News publish date April 5, 2011

Sitting in Sul Ross Middle School’s library Friday morning and gently caressing his violin, Rico Rodriguez was excited yet, he admitted, “A little nervous.” But by the time Yo-Yo Ma, the world-famous cellist, began stomping around the library like a monster and pretending that he was from Mars, Rodriguez and the rest of his school’s orchestra were at ease.

Overnight: Yo-Yo Ma

By David Hendricks – San Antonio Express-News publish date April 1, 2011

The audience attending the Silk Road Ensemble concert Thursday night might never again see musicians having so much fun together on stage. Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma led the party, and the sellout crowd eagerly joined in by clapping along during the magical tour of culturally blended musical expression.

From Fauré, a quartet worthy of limelight

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date March 8, 2011

The Ysaÿe Quartet of France brought some of the plushest string-quartet playing we’ve heard in years to a program of first-class works by Mozart, Fauré and Brahms, March 6 in Temple Beth-El for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society.

Oh what a GREAT concert!

By Jack Fishman – San Antonio Express-News publish date March 6, 2011

What a concert! Bravo to the San Antonio Chamber Music Society for bringing in the Quatuor Ysäye for a concert of Mozart, Fauré and Brahms on Sunday. While I wasn’t totally thrilled with the programming, the performance was a good as I’ve ever experienced. I just loved it!

Flavors of France in S.A.: Multiweek festival to include film, food, art and music

By Deborah Martin – San Antonio Express-News publish date February 6, 2011

The San Antonio French Cultures Festival — a far-reaching affair that will include films, food, Champagne, impressionism and chamber music — began life as a simple film festival.

“I was approached by the French department at UTSA because they wanted to put on a French film festival, and they wanted my help and ideas,” said James G. Lifshutz, a developer who is also the honorary consul of France in San Antonio. “Very quickly, they decided and I decided that there were other possible events to tie in to it and make a proper festival of it — not a huge festival, but a proper festival.

Cypress String Quartet with Amit Peled: Three great near-death experiences

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date January 31, 2011

Israeli cellist Amit Peled and the Cypress String Quartet collaborated in a program of late-in-life masterworks by three master composers, Jan. 30 for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society in Temple Beth-El.

Beethoven was represented by his compact final statement for string quartet, the one in F, Op. 135. Franz Schubert’s magnificent Cello Quintet in C was the closer. Mr. Peled opened the concert on his own with a revelation, Benjamin Britten’s Suite No. 3 for solo cello.

 2010

Imani Winds: A whole world of music

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date November 16, 2010

Not that there isn’t plenty of life in the old stories, but it’s good to hear some new ones now and then, from different climes, with different points of view, told with verve and skill.

Enter the Imani Winds. First heard locally a few years ago in a memorable Carver Center concert joined by Paquito D’Rivera, the New York-based woodwind quintet made a very welcome return visit to town on Nov. 14, this time on the San Antonio Chamber Music Society series at Temple Beth-El.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: Music for five, played winningly by six

By Mike Greenberg – Incident Light publish date October 12, 2010

The San Antonio Chamber Music Society opened its 68th season, Oct. 10 in Temple Beth-El, with a visit by members of that other Chamber Music Society, the one attached to Lincoln Center in New York.

The program held late-in-life quintets by W.A. Mozart and Johannes Brahms and a youthful but altogether masterful quintet by Felix Mendelssohn.

2009

Concert: Albers Trio

By Deborah Martin – San Antonio Express-News publish date May 16, 2009

The San Antonio Chamber Music Society wraps up its current season with the Albers Trio. The trio consists of three sisters — cellist Julie Albers, violist Rebecca Albers and violinist Laura Albers — who each began studying at age 2 with their mother, Ellie LeRoux. They will be performing Mozart’s Divertimento in E-flat, Phillip Magnuson’s “Little Suite for String Trio” and Heitor Villa-Lobos’ String Trio.

*Full article is no longer available

Concerts: San Antonio Chamber Music Society

By Ariel Barkhurst – San Antonio Express-News publish date March 11, 2009

The basics: The San Antonio Chamber Music Society strives to bring in musicians who are less well-known in the United States than Europe and elsewhere. Sunday, they’ll do just that with Israel’s Aviv String Quartet. Eileen Lundin, publicity chairwoman for the society, says that Aviv comes from a sound tradition of Russian Jewish music, so the sound should be lively and have a lot of soul. The ensemble will play pieces by Haydn, Beethoven and Shostakovich.

*Full article is no longer available

Dear Editor

By Charles Malesky – San Antonio, Texas – January 20, 2009

Many thanks to the San Antonio Chamber Music Society for bringing the world acclaimed consort of violas “Fretwork” to San Antonio.

The concert last Sunday was a rare triple treat for classical music lovers. The all-baroque concert was rare because all-baroque concerts occur only once or twice a year in our city. Thus the all Purcell concert was even more rare because it is virtually impossible to hear any of Purcell’s music performed in San Antonio. And it was rare because a concert of consort of viola never occurs here.

It was a treat because the performance presented the concert at the highest level of professionalism and artistry. I hope that the Society will continue to bring such early music ensembles to our community.

*Full article is no longer available

Fretwork's viol concert to open chamber season

By Jennifer Roolf Laster – San Antonio Express-News publish date January 15, 2009

The San Antonio Chamber Music Society opens 2009 with a performance by Fretwork, a viol consort. And, no, you don’t need to know what exactly a viol consort — or even a viol — is to enjoy the music. But we’ll fill you in anyway.

*Full article is no longer available

 2008

Whimsy, sadness figure in quartet's musical lineup

By Jennifer Roolf Laster – San Antonio Express-News publish date November 11, 2008

Viola player Josef Kluson likens the longevity of the award-winning Prazak Quartet — which began in 1972 when its members were students at the Prague Conservatory — both to determination and the sheer realities of the passage of time.

*Full article is no longer available

Emerson Quartet concert, not surprisingly, world-class

By Jennifer Roolf Laster – San Antonio Express-News publish date September 29, 2008

When a group is as famous as The Emerson String Quartet, no one expects anything but a stellar performance.

That’s just what they delivered at their Sunday afternoon concert in San Antonio. The quartet – violinists Philip Setzer and Eugene Drucker, violist Lawrence Dutton, and cellist David Finckel – offered up more than two hours of top-notch chamber music as the opening act of the San Antonio Chamber Music Society’s 66th season.

*Full article is no longer available

Busy quartet to perform in S.A.

By Jennifer Roolf Laster – San Antonio Express-News publish date September 26, 2008

In the world of classical music, it’s hard to be bigger than the Emerson String Quartet. It’s scored eight Grammys, maintained a 29-year residency at the Smithsonian Institution, released definitive recordings of quartet works by too many composers to list here and played to packed halls around the globe.

*Full article is no longer available

The string quartet and beyond

By Jennifer Roolf Laster – San Antonio Express-News publish date August 1, 2008

When the San Antonio Chamber Music Society first began bringing leading artists to the Alamo City for intimate concerts, the programming was pretty simple.

*Full article is no longer available

 2007

Conversation with Amit Peled

By David Abrams – Internet Cello Society publish date January-February 2007, Vol 13, number 1

Israeli cellist Amit Peled is forging an international career of the highest caliber both as a soloist and as an enthusiastic teacher. The American Record Guide hails him as “having the flair of the young Rostropovich” and he is one of the youngest cello professors ever to be appointed to a major conservatory in the United States (Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University).

Chamber Music Society starts season with Enso quartet

San Antonio Express-News publish date Oct 4, 2007

San Antonio Symphony principal violist Allyson Dawkins was impressed when she heard the Enso String Quartet at Chamber Music America’s annual conference in January in New York. “They blew everyone else out of the water,” said Dawkins, also a member of the artist-selection committee for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society.

*Full article is no longer available

Concert Review: Ensemble smoothly delivers

San Antonio Express-News publish date March 19,2007

There is something to be said for sheer beauty of the sort the Borodin Quartet produced on Sunday for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society.

*Full article is no longer available

Concert Review: Norway quartet delivers beauty

By Mike Greenberg – San Antonio Express-News publish date Jan. 23, 2007

The excellent Vertavo String Quartet of Norway brought some old and new music from home, along with Franz Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden,” to the San Antonio Chamber Music Society on Sunday in Temple Beth-El.

*Full article is no longer available

 2006

Quartet: a thing of beauty

San Antonio Express-News publish date Nov. 17, 2006

“There’s going to be beautiful music.” That’s what Jan Van den Hende, president of the San Antonio Chamber Music Society, predicts for Sunday’s intimate concert with the venerable Vermeer String Quartet.

*Full article is no longer available

 2004

Top Ticket: Mendelssohn String Quartet w/Jonathan Biss

By Mike Greenberg – San Antonio Express-News publish date Nov. 21, 2004

If your head is big enough to hold your ears several miles apart, you can hear two promising concerts in stereo this afternoon. The San Antonio Chamber Music Society continues its season with the highly regarded Mendelssohn String Quartet and pianist Jonathan Biss – a pairing that also appeared recently at the prestigious Gilmore International Keyboard Competition in Michigan.

*Full article is no longer available

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