Passionately Bold Violinist Charles Yang


          Described by the Boston Globe as one who "plays classical violin with the charisma of a rock star", Juilliard graduate Charles Yang began his violin studies with his mother in Austin, Texas, and has since studied with world-renowned pedagogues Kurt Sassmanshaus, Paul Kantor, Brian Lewis and Glenn Dicterow. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in recitals in the United States, Europe, Brazil, Russia, China, and Taiwan, and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. On June 9th of 2005, the Mayor of Austin presented Mr. Yang with his own "Charles Yang Day".  In 2016 Mr. Yang joined the crossover string-band, Time for Three.

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          Not only confined to classical violin, Mr. Yang's improvisational crossover abilities as a violinist, electric violinist, and vocalist have led him to featured performances with a variety of artists in such festivals as The Aspen Music Festival, The Cayman Arts Festival, The YouTube Music Awards, The Moab Music Festival, TED, Caramoor, The EG Conference, Oncue Conference, Google Zeitgeist, YouTube Space Los Angeles, Interlochen, and onstage at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House, David H. Koch Theater, Dizzy’s and David Rubinstein Atrium; The Long Center, The Royal Danish Theatre, Le Poisson Rouge, Highline Ballroom, Ars Nova, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Forbidden City in Beijing among many others. He has performed in the presence of two former US Presidents, the Queen of Denmark and has recently shared the stage in collaborations with artists including Peter Dugan, CDZA, Steve Miller, Jesse Colin Young, Jake Shimabukuro, Ray Benson, Michael Gordon, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Marcelo Gomes, Twyla Tharp, Misty Copeland and Jon Batiste. His career has been followed by various news media including The New York Times, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Playbill, The Boston Globe, Fortissimo, The Financial Times, The Austin-American Statesman, The Austin Chronicle, Shenzhen Daily, The Strad, Dallas Daily, Cincinnati Enquirer, and Juilliard Journal. Mr. Yang is featured in Nick Romeo's book, Driven as well as Discovery Channel's Curiosity.

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           Regarding Mr. Yang, The Texas Observer has noted, “Mr. Yang is a true crossover artist, a pioneer who can hop between classical and popular music and bring fresh ideas to fans of both genres.  Rather than maintaining an insular focus and simply assuming that an audience for classical music will always exist, he wants to actively create that audience, to persuade and seduce others into enjoying a type of music as passionately as he does.”


There’s more to Swing than Swing

Swing Styles


Savoy Swing: a style of Swing popular in the New York Savoy Ballroom in the 30's and 40's originally danced to Swing music. The Savoy style of swing is a very fast, jumpy, casual-looking style of dancing

Lindy style is a smoother-looking dance.

West Coast Swing: a style of Swing emphasizing nimble feet popular in California night clubs in the 30's and 40's and voted the California State Dance in 1989.

Whip: a style of Swing popular in Houston, Texas, emphasizing moves spinning the follower between dance positions with a wave rhythm break.

Push: a style of swing popular in Dallas, Texas, emphasizing moves spinning the follower between dance positions with a rock rhythm break.

Supreme Swing: a style of Swing popular in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Imperial Swing: a style of Swing popular in St. Louis, Missouri.

Carolina Shag: a style of Swing popular in the Carolinas emphasizing the leader's nimble feet.

DC Hand Dancing: a Washington, DC synthesis of Lindy and Swing.

East Coast Swing: a 6-count style of Lindy popular in the ballroom dance school organizations.

Ballroom West Coast Swing: a style of swing popular in the ballroom dance school organizations and different from the style performed in the California nightclubs and Swing dance clubs.

Country-Western Swing: a style of Jitterbug popularized during the 1980's and danced to Country Western music.

Cajun Swing: a Louisiana Bayou style of Lindy danced to Cajun music.

Pony Swing: a Country Western style of Cajun Swing.

Jive: the International Style version of the dance is called Jive, and it is danced competitively in the US and all over the world.


Magnificent Mozart: Concert Four

Mozart, Mozart, Mozart – Three Concertos, Three Artists, Three Instruments

Maestro David Mairs asks, “So how can the music of a single composer be presented in a concert which brings variety. How about performing not one concerto, but three? How about hearing a movement from three different concertos for three different instruments performed by three different artists from the Mid-Texas Symphony? Does Mozart sound the same when the solo instrument is a flute, or a clarinet, or a bassoon? It’s time we found out, and Rita, Vanguel, and Jonathan will help us do that.

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Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major, K. 313 performed by MTS principal flute, Rita Linard

Mozart composed the Concerto in G major in Mannheim, early in 1778, and the work was probably performed there by Johann Baptist Wendling, the solo flutist of the Mannheim Orchestra. The National Symphony Orchestra gave its first performance of this work in a chamber orchestra concert conducted by Pinchas Zukerman on March 12, 1978, with Eugenie Zukerman as soloist, and performed it most recently at Wolf Trap on July 13, 2000, with Paula Robison as soloist and Anthony Aibel conducting.  In addition to the solo flute, the score calls for 2 oboes, 2 horns, and strings. (The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Richard Freed)


Clarinet Concerto in A, K622, performed by MTS principal clarinet, Vanguel Tangarov 

This concerto was completed in 1791, the year of Mozart’s death, marked his farewell to instrumental music. It was also the first clarinet concerto to be written by a major composer – except that Mozart did not write it for the clarinet at all. It is rare that we ever hear this most famous of wind concertos played on the instrument Mozart intended – the basset clarinet, a clarinet that has four semitones added to its lower range. The inventor of the basset clarinet, and its leading virtuoso, was Mozart’s friend and fellow Mason, Anton Stadler, for whom Mozart had written the Clarinet Quintet in A, in 1789. 

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Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K 191, performed by MTS principal bassoon, Jonathan Castillo

With the exception of a spurious work now attributed to François Devienne (K.Anh. 230a), this piece is the only extant work Mozart wrote for solo bassoon. It is possible that he composed others; he is reputed to have composed three further bassoon concertos and a bassoon sonata for Thaddäus Baron von Dürnitz, the recipient of the Piano Sonata in D, K. 284. but none has been accounted for. The B flat concerto was completed in Salzburg in June 1774. That year the teenage Mozart was afforded the rare luxury of remaining at home’. The concerto, composed for an unknown recipient, is cast in the usual three movements, and its sunny, bubbling lyricism perhaps shows the influence of Italian opera. (Brian Robbins)

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas is without a doubt my favorite time of the year. I'm that person that when the clock turns midnight on Thanksgiving night I go right into Christmas mode. I have every reason to be uncontrollably happy because it's Christmas, it’s the happiest time of the year. What is better than watching 25 Days of Christmas, sitting by the fire, decorating the Christmas tree and ice-skating? The answer is: nothing. There are so many reasons why I love Christmas as much as I do and it’s not because I get showered with gifts by my family.

Even though it’s incredibly cold in New York at this time of year, I still feel warm and happy because of the atmosphere Christmas brings. Going into New York City and seeing the tree at Rockefeller Center, skating in Central Park or walking past the department store to see the window display just makes me incredibly happy. When it starts to snow and the sky is full of small little flakes it makes everything just feel more magical and joyous. Christmas is such a happy holiday and it makes so many people happy that it just makes me happy.

I also love Christmas because my sister and I both come home from college and for two days she has no choice but spend time with me. I rarely get to spend time with her so any moment I do get with her makes me happy. I also get to see the rest of my family. My cousins, my sisters and I never fail to have a good time together. What is better than spending time with the people you love most? Getting to spend an absurd amount of time with my cousins playing Just Dance beats any other day of the year.

Finally, I love Christmas because it gives my mom and I a great excuse to bake an unhealthy amount of cookies and watch a concerning amount of Christmas movies. One of my favorite traditions with my mom is taking a whole day and baking cookies for the holiday. The smell of cookies filling the house and Christmas music playing in the background never fails to make me smile. Every year we do the same thing and my dad does his usual of staying away from the kitchen so we don't ask him for his help. I couldn't imagine celebrating Christmas without this tradition.

I don't know how, but there are people that just don't feel the same about Christmas as I do. Yes I believe they are crazy. I am Buddy the Elf of Christmas. There is the best excuse to be extremely happy! No worries, some responsibilities and being surrounded by joy and love. How could people not love this holiday?

Madeline Ulrich, Blogger


Angels & Anthems

Concert Three: Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 4pm

by Maestro David Mairs

I Googled it. It was real! The Blizzard of 1947 in New York City was real! My mother’s story was right. She had decided to take my brother (5) and me (4) across the George Washington Bridge into NYC to see Handel and Gretel at the Metropolitan Opera on December 26th. Hansel and Gretel, an opera about children, was traditionally performed at Christmas time at the Met. Why not! It’s about kids, and angels, and families (and yes, a wicked witch!). We bussed into the city for the 1:00 performance. When we came out, the snow was 2 feet deep, the busses weren’t running, and my mother made some very bold and gutsy moves to get us little kids home safely. She surprised an elderly man in a big car who had slowed to a crawl on his approach to the George Washington Bridge, by throwing open his rear door, shoving us boys into the car, climbing in herself, and exclaiming, “Can you help me get these boys across the bridge?” He did.

What I remember from that encounter is the “angel music,” Humperdinck’s amazing music filling the hall as the angels came down to watch over Hansel and Gretel, who were hopelessly lost in the woods. Every time I perform this piece, as a hornist and now as a conductor, I am overwhelmed as the majesty of the orchestra accompanies the angels – “and the Glory of the LORD shown around them!”

Our Christmas concert is about angels and especially about kids – little kids and big kids – kids singing for you and escorting us into the presence of the mysterious and perhaps, the holy. From the 5th graders from the Seguin area to the Seguin High School Choir, the voices of kids will take you places that you’ll want to go. Enjoy the trip!


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