The San Antonio Symphony graced The Tobin Center's stage in gowns and tails for a gala concert on March 4th, 2017, under the baton of Akiko Fujimoto. The evening featured guest-soloist Gil Shaham in a performance of Johannes Brahms’s Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 77, preceded with works by Dvořák and Beethoven. A mentor of mine once told me that the difficulty in performing Brahms’s orchestral pieces lies in the fact that parts written by him are so well done, so fulfilling to perform, that every musician in the ensemble is tempted to play their part out the whole time. Gil Shaham and the San Antonio Symphony did not succumb to such temptation. They played the concerto with alacrity, blend, dynamic contrast- pretty much any adjective that suits a high-level professional ensemble. There was no ego aggrandizement in Gil Shaham’s presence as he stood in the spotlight, playing chamber music with his fellow musicians rather than forcing them into his shadow. Maestro Fujimoto and concertmaster Eric Gratz rose to the occasion in collaboration and communication. Even a child with the worst case of chickenpox wouldn’t scratch an itch during Shaham’s performance. When the third and final movement commenced, he propelled through double-stops with incredible precision and candor as the symphony accompanied him, driving forward through gypsy-esque themes and bringing the audience to its feet before the final notes were done ringing through the H-E-B Performance Hall.