San Antonio Symphony goes virtual for latest performance

Musicians perform ‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations from their own homes.

SAN ANTONIO – As many people remain at home under the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order, musicians with the San Antonio Symphony turned to the virtual world for one special performance.

They got together and performed Edward Elgar’s “Nimrod” from Enigma Variations.

“This most recent San Antonio Symphony 'Nimrod’ video was the result of an email from our music director, Sebastian Lang Lessing,” Steve Peterson, symphony member and video creator, told KSAT via email. “He was enthused about the Rotterdam Philharmonic Beethoven 9 video, and he was wondering if I could help San Antonio achieve something similar."

Peterson said Lessing had another piece in mind.

“Sebastian pitched the idea of Dvorak 9th symphony excerpt, which is a nice piece, but I wanted to use a piece that had a strong emotional impact for me,” Peterson said. “My first thought was to use Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations. This piece has always been on my short list of favorite pieces.”

Peterson said he sent out instructions to his fellow musicians to record their parts on their phones, using a metronome to keep the pace. As far as the video goes, Peterson said he looked to another musician for inspiration.

“A friend of mine and fellow trombonist, Jaime Parker, recently drew my attention to a video series on Youtube by composer Eric Whitacre entitled ‘Virtual Choir,’” Peterson said. “People submit their vocal parts and Whitacre and his team edit together a beautiful video that travels similarly in 3D space.

Peterson said he hopes this video will provide a bright light for some during the pandemic.

“This video has given me a great way to engage and produce music with my colleagues during this strange and challenging time that we all face,” Peterson said. “I think it is important for us and for the community that I and my symphony colleagues continue to do these types of projects. It allows us to broadcast positivity out to social media, and also allows us to remind people that the symphony and other important institutions are still here during this challenging time.”

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