"Chamber Music with a Texas Kick" is how the Cactus Pear Music Festival advertises its seventh summer. What a "Texas kick" means to Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Ibert is unclear, except for a kick in the teeth. "The whole year has been a bit surreal for me," says violinist Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio, concertmaster for the San Antonio Symphony, which, after canceling the final month of its season, is now officially bankrupt. If the Symphony has for the moment stopped kicking, the Cactus Pear Music Festival, which Sant'Ambrogio founded in 1996, still has legs. From July 9-20, it offers three programs of chamber music in San Antonio, as well as single concerts in Georgetown, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, and Boerne.
| CACTUS PEAR MUSIC FESTIVAL
Laurel Heights United Methodist church
227 W. Woodlawn, 733-7156
Souvenirs & Serenades. Featuring Wolf's Italian Serenade in G Major, Beethoven's Serenade in D Major, and Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence. 7:30pm July 12. $20 adult, $8 student.
For complete information on the festival, including concerts in Boerne, Fredericksburg, Georgetown, and Kerrville, call 824-5377 or visit www.cpmf.us/ index.html.
Sant'Ambrogio has invited some members of the San Antonio Symphony, including principal clarinetist Ilya Shterenberg, principal harpist Rachel Ferris, and violinist and associate concertmaster Ertan Torgul, to perform in her concerts. She is also bringing former principal cellist Fred Edelen, now with Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, as well as three cellists - Joseph Johnson, Beth Rapier, and Anthony Ross - from Minnesota, violinist Alison Harney from St. Louis, and violists David Harding and Daniel Panner, from British Columbia and New York, respectively. Cactus Pear musicians work closely with one another and their audiences, who are encouraged to offer feedback and are eligible for door prizes. The festival extends its public outreach through master classes and additional, free performances for youth groups and seniors.
Sant'Ambrogio and pianist Jeffrey Sykes have just produced a CD of works by Mexican and American composers that can be ordered through the festival's Web site: www.cpmf.us. The CD's title, Souvenirs de San Antonio, might suggest a photo of the Alamo or a Spurs T-shirt. It also suggests nostalgia for an ungrateful city that gives classical musicians little nourishment but cactus pears. •