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This Week in Texas Music History: August Thielepape

Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a man whose political and musical leadership helped reshape San Antonio.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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On July 21, 1865, August Thielepape raised an American flag over the Alamo to signify the end of the Civil War. Thielepape was a true Renaissance man. After moving to San Antonio from Germany in the 1850s, he worked as an architect, engineer, composer and civic leader. In 1865, he helped found the Beethoven Männerchor, a popular Texas-German singing group, and he even conducted its debut performance at the Casino Club, an auditorium he had designed.

In 1867, August Thielepape became mayor of San Antonio. He continued composing and conducting music, but he also worked to help modernize the city’s streets, bridges and schools. In 1872, he moved to Chicago to help rebuild that city after the Great Fire. He died there in 1904.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll discover yet another Texas connection to the King of Rock and Roll.