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San Antonio Philharmonic holds inaugural concert

San Antonio Symphony Musicians aim to keep the music going under new name.

SAN ANTONIO — Classical music returned to the stage Friday night under a new banner: the San Antonio Philharmonic.

For the San Antonio Symphony, the ship has sunk. Still, the band plays on.

Sitting at a table outside at the Pearl Brewery, San Antonio Philharmonic board member Roberto Treviño and its President Brian Petkovich hashed out some of the details for Friday’s performance.

"There's gonna be a special acknowledgement of DieciSeis or something like that, or..." Treviño asked Petkovich.

Sitting down for a chat with the two of them can feel like sitting in on a planning session for the Philharmonic

"We don't we don't want to lose these valuable things.” Treviño said. “And they're pushing very, very hard to keep that here in San Antonio."

The Philharmonic grew out of the "MOSAS" performance fund affiliated with the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony Union which put on its own performances while on strike.

"We started during the strike to get back out,” Petkovich said. “And really, we've just been growing quickly, ever since."

Petkovich is a bassoonist with the orchestra in addition to serving as its president. He's optimistic that the new organization can avoid the financial pitfalls of its predecessor.

"We have very little overhead.” He said. “And we're really basically just trying to do one thing at a time very well, starting small, really trying to grow this thing from the start."

During our interview Treviño had a run-in with an old colleague: district eight councilman Manny Pelaez who had his own thoughts on the efforts of the musicians.

"The great cities of the world - all the great cities have great philharmonic orchestras," he said.

The orchestra's first official performance was Friday evening. Almost poetically, in their first official performance under a new name, they played music from the Prokofiev Ballet Romeo and Juliet. The play that inspired it, famously asking the question, ‘What’s in a name?’

The Philharmonic also performed works by Johannes Brahms and Maurice Ravel as well as a brand-new composition by UTSA Music Composition and Theory Professor Ethan Wickman.

Petkovich said they will soon be participating in educational program like the Symphony had before them.
"We have our opening night, this week at the First Baptist Church," he said. “The week after, we're doing a whole series of concerts at area high schools for elementary school kids.

Treviño says it's going to take the support of the public to keep classical music afloat in San Antonio,

"And we're really trying to craft a positive message, one that says, Look, we're gonna do it together, we want people to come out," he said.

You can find more information about their schedule and how to buy tickets here.

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