Mozart Festival Texas founder Terence Frazor has always thought of the festival as a happy remedy to San Antonio’s classical music off-season. With performances by world class soloists, as well as the festival orchestra, Mozart Festival Texas helps classical music enthusiasts get through the lull of summer.
In its ninth year, the festival will take place over two weekends (July 27-28 and August 3-4), with different programming each night. The affair is in residence at the University of the Incarnate Word, where Frazor is a member of the music faculty. The festival enjoys the use of the university’s state of the art concert hall, parts of its fine arts complex that opened in late 2015.
Solo musicians performing include violinist Caleb Hans Polashek and pianist Osip Nikiforov, who won Third Prize at the San Antonio International Piano Competition (now the Gurwitz International Piano Competition) in 2016.
The festival also provides a rare opportunity for San Antonians to experience chamber music, something that Frazor says is less common given that chamber music typically is performed by smaller groups of musicians rather than a full orchestra.
Led by Frazor, who studied at the Mannes College of Music in New York and the Mozarteum in Austria and founded the Laredo Philharmonic, the festival has seen its attendance grow each year.
Mozart’s music – and to some extent the music of his contemporaries like Franz Joseph Haydn and other chamber music composers – is a great entry point for folks who may not typically count themselves as classical music fans, said Frazor.
“The wonderful thing about the classical period, especially Mozart, is that it’s relatively simple and very accessible music. You can come into a concert and listen to a Mozart symphony or concerto and know nothing about music and you can instantly fall in love.”
For Frazor, it all goes back to “the power of music” which is “that it communicates in a way that requires no education or special skills to appreciate, and this is especially true of Mozart.”
Those who are already into classical music might note that, according to Frazor, the festival tries to focus on performing pieces that “are not regularly or often performed.”
Among the rare pieces programmed for this year are Haydn’s Symphony No. 83 in G Minor (“La Poule”), Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 17 in G, K453,” and Franz Schubert’s “Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, Tragic” — all of which Frazor says haven’t been performed in San Antonio for many years.
Eventually, Frazor would like to see the festival host encore performances at other regional venues and maybe even throw a grand finale at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
Locals with curious ears and classical music aficionados alike may find this unique festival an ideal way to escape the heat over the next two weekends.
A schedule with full performance details, as well as ticketing information, is available at the festival website.