Nathan Bibiano turns River Walk into a personal concert hall


SAN ANTONIO – Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the River Walk has provided residents of San Antonio with a perfect avenue to get some fresh air and exercise outdoors. Many prefer to listen to their own music while jogging.

But if you’ve ever walked the trail over the Camden Street Riverwalk Bridge, you’ve probably been lulled to sleep by the soft tones of violinist Nathan Bibiano.

Six days a week, Bibiano settles under the art installation FISH and transforms the River Walk into his own personal concert hall. He chose the location mainly because of the acoustics and even installed cameras to video record his performance for personal and professional criticism. The goal is simple:

“I want to compete with some of the best violinists in the world,” Bibiano said.

This desire stems from a life devoted to music, and it is evident in the range of his songs and styles. The San Antonio native can seamlessly switch from The goblin dance To The Rains of Castamere of HBO’s Game of Thrones, and he credits his aunt with having sparked an interest in alternative forms of music – particularly metal – as a teenager.

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“She introduced me to Korn and Six Feet Under,” Bibiano explained. “As I got older I got to play with a cool metal band and we met so many metal musicians that we used to listen to when we were kids.”

Today, after 17 years of career, he can play several instruments, gives music lessons in private and participates regularly in competitions.

“I can teach a student to play piano, play drums, guitar, bass, viola and cello. I want to know everything about music, how to teach it, how to play it and how to repair instruments. “

Bibiano was eager to take part in the Vienna International Music Competition in July, but as has been the case with so many events this summer, those plans have been canceled due to the pandemic. It also took a toll on his local performance schedule.

“Since a national emergency was declared, I have lost four months of concerts and I will not do anything major until July,” Bibiano said. “I won’t be teaching anyone for a while, but I try to help my students as best I can with online teaching. Otherwise, I use my extra free time to practice in my room. or in my apartment then later in the evening I come here to work out I spend a few hours here but I also like to walk a mile playing the violin to see if I can play it at the same time.

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By sharing his talents with the town of Alamo, Bibiano has breathed a little more life into the River Walk one note at a time. The audience took note.

“I live in the city center and see Nathan regularly playing the violin,” said Chelsea Hejny, a San Antonio resident. “He brings so much joy and life to this neighborhood. He always plays his music, smiles at everyone, and he just makes this area bright.

“I love when they tell me that I have a positive impact on the community,” said Bibiano. “I love the smiles on their faces when I play their favorite songs or whenever my students come here for dates. On Valentine’s Day they were such divas! They wanted me to be perfect at 110%, and I said to them ‘My, you are planning a date, not a wedding.’

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