These exhilarating young performers infuse this exciting music with their energy and emotion. Music will include: American Haiku by Paul Wiancko, a richly-textured duo that incorporates Appalachian fiddling, percussive patterns and Japanese folk-inspired melodies. Étoufée for solo viola by Kenji Bunch. Bunch is acclaimed by audiences, performers, and critics alike for his work combining vernacular American influences with techniques from his classical training to create a unique vocabulary of New American music. Wood Works by the Danish String Quartet. These arrangements bring exquisite textures and sonorities to the rhythms and melodies of traditional Nordic folk tunes.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, violist Blake Turner has appeared in a wide range of venues around the world including performances in China, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the World Trade Center in Curaçao, Netherland Antilles, and Miami’s New World Center. Blake is an accomplished orchestral musician, performing regularly as Assistant Principal Viola of the Austin Symphony and as a substitute with the Houston and New World Symphonies. He also performed with the San Antonio Symphony after winning the American Viola Society’s Orchestral Excerpt Competition. Blake is a sought after chamber musician who has performed alongside members of the Cordova and Miró Quartets and collaborated with musicians such as Robert McDonald and Anton Nel.
Blake has been invited to appear at music festivals in Aspen, Colorado, and Madeline Island, Wisconsin, and developed a winter concert series in collaboration with the Aspen Music Festival to bring chamber music to Aspen during ski season. Blake is an active music educator. He has coached chamber music ensembles at the Austin Chamber Music Center and Rice University’s Preparatory Program, and assisted the Austin Symphony in redesigning their education programming.
Blake completed his Bachelor’s degree in viola performance at Rice University and received a Master’s degree in chamber music performance from The University of Texas at Austin. His principal teachers include Ivo van der Werff, James Dunham and John Largess of the Miró Quartet.
Beyond classical music, Blake enjoys bluegrass and fiddling. He has won first prize in several regional fiddling competitions in the Texas Hill Country and particularly enjoys impromptu jam sessions with his brothers. Upcoming highlights for the 2017-2018 season include: solo appearances with the Density512 Orchestra, the Austin Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Blanco Performing Arts Series.
When he isn’t performing, Blake finds the time to swing dance and has blogged for the American Viola Society about topics ranging from fiddling to orchestral etiquette. He also loves to play basketball and is a passionate fan of the San Antonio Spurs.
Esther Sanders is an active performer and teacher currently living in Austin, Texas. She was appointed Principal Second Violin of Austin Opera in 2013 and joined the First Violin section of the Austin Symphony in 2015. She gives recitals and house concerts as a soloist and chamber musician, including performances with Tetractys, a new music concert series based in Austin.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Esther has performed as a soloist with the Richmond Symphony and Petersburg Symphony. She has also given chamber music performances in Vienna and southern France as part of the Aix Festival.
She received a Bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University where she studied with Christian Teal. While in Nashville, she performed with the Nashville Symphony and Chattanooga Symphony, taught at Belmont University’s Belmont Academy, and was an active studio musician playing on several soundtracks for Sony Playstation, Sega, and Warner Brothers. She has performed with artists such as Michael Buble, Il Volo, and Michael W. Smith.
Esther received a Master’s degree in violin performance from UT Austin where she studied with Sandy Yamamoto. She also worked with the Miro Quartet and David Kim.
An avid teacher of all ages and levels, she maintains a private violin studio and is on faculty at Texas Lutheran University, Concordia University, Austin Community College, Texas Strings Camp, and Austin Chamber Music Center.
Collin Turner grew up as a Suzuki student studying piano with Vickie Pautz and violin with Suzy Perlman. He studied Violin Performance at Mercer University as part of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings in Macon, Georgia and performed chamber music at the Rome Chamber Music Festival. Collin graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from Southern Methodist University.
Throughout his years at SMU, he performed as a violinist in the renowned Meadows Symphony Orchestra and studied with Kim Chee-Yun. He recently completed his 6-month Music Therapy internship at Florida Hospital in Orlando specializing in work with infants in the NICU. While in Orlando, Collin set up a heartbeat recording station to record patients’ heartbeat and assisted the patients in composing lyrics and music to go along with the heartbeat. This was an effective intervention for patients recovering from heart transplant surgery and cancer to document their experience.
Collin is a Board-Certified Music Therapist for Southwestern Music Therapy LLC in Dallas, Texas. He uses his music skills in violin, guitar, percussion, piano, and voice to develop and implement goal-driven, specialized treatment interventions to maximize each client’s potential.
A dedicated chamber musician from a young age, Matthew Kufchak has performed for audiences all over the world, from Vienna's iconic St. Stephen's Cathedral to Carnegie Hall. He was a silver medalist in the Junior Division of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and has studied under many of the great quartet musicians of the 20th century, including members of the Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard, and Cleveland Quartets. He was featured on NPR's "From the Top" radio and television programs, and received the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award in 2007.
As the cellist of the Cordova Quartet, Matthew performed across the United States and Canada, including a collaboration with Grammy-Award-winning jazz artists Billy Childs and Dianne Reeves, quintet performances with pianists Anton Nel and Robert McDonald, and a set at the 2015 SXSW Music Festival. The Cordova Quartet also completed a two-year residency at the University of Texas, where they studied with the Miró Quartet.
Recent projects have included performances for the Austin Camerata chamber music festival and with KINETIC, a chamber orchestra based in Houston. Matthew has also performed with Alkali, a string quintet that plays music ranging from pop covers to original compositions. He served as principal cellist of the Symphony Orchestra at Rice University and spent four summers at the Aspen Music Festival, where he was principal cellist of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra and the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Matthew is a committed educator. He maintains a private teaching studio and has coached ensembles at the Chamber Music Connection in Columbus, Ohio, the Preparatory Program at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and at the Austin Chamber Music Center.
Matthew completed his Bachelor and Master degrees in Cello Performance at Rice University, where he studied with Desmond Hoebig and Lynn Harrell, and finished an Artist Diploma at the University of Texas at Austin with Joshua Gindele. In his free time, he enjoys photography, drinking craft beer, and attempting to brew the perfect cup of coffee. He also loves cooking with his wife Bailey and playing with his dog Mikey.
In addition to our patrons and audiences, Blanco Performing Arts' sponsors help make our excellent performances possible and bring these talented musicians to Blanco. Visit our sponsors and show them you support arts in the Hill Country.
The Uptown Blanco Ballroom is home to the Blanco Performing Arts concert series, located on the west side of the courthouse square in Blanco, Texas. Find directions and parking...
If you need a place to stay while you’re in our little burg, there are a number of options. We have hotels, numerous B&Bs, and beautiful riverside spots for those of you with RVs.
Blanco Performing Arts is incorporated as a non-profit entity, and is recognized as such under Section 501(3)(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.