Encuentro de Culturas 2015

On March 11, 2015, Musical Bridges Around the World (MBAW) traveled to Puerto Rico for Encuentro de Culturas 2015. The idea to create the festival was spearheaded by native Puerto Rican and MBAW Board Member, Dr. Awilda Ramos. About a year ago, Dr. Ramos sat down with Artistic Director, Dr. Anya Grokhovski with a dream of creating a cultural exchange festival with Puerto Rico and together, they made it a reality.

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Led by Dr. Ramos and Dr. Grokhovski, MBAW’s support team consisted of staff members Executive Assistant Diana Tatu and Vanessa Sanchez along with contractors James Sanders and Clemence Le Saux. Dr. Grokhovski created a spectacular line up of world renowned Russian and Ukrainian musicians including Barynya from New York, the Flying Balalaika Brothers from Austin, and Duo Aleanya from San Antonio. Dr. Ramos coordinated an energetic collaboration with dance company Gibaro de Puerto Rico who participated in 4 out of 5 concerts of the festival.

The Russian music, dance and song ensemble—Barynya—showcased popular Russian and Gypsy dances through their fiery footwork and bright costumes. Russian folk group—Flying Balalaika Brothers—showcased Russian folk music at its best; through a compilation of traditional songs and world music sprinkled with the glitter of Russian fairy tales. Russian piano duo—Duo Aleanya—dazzled the audience with their beauty and talent alike as they played a brilliant program of Brahms and Rachmaninoff. Puerto Rican dance company—Gibaro De Puerto Rico—attracted a huge audiences with their national and international exposure in recent years. They performed a variety of traditional dances, and were a major hit!

On 12 March 2015, the Flying Balalaika Brothers visited one school in Auguadilla, Puerto Rico, sharing Russian culture and music with the students during their visit. Later that evening, all performers and MBAW’s team attended a special art opening by famous Puerto Rican artist Antonio Carrión Torruellas at Auguadilla City Hall. The Flying Balalaika Brothers and Barynya entertained guests during the opening and Mayor Carlos Méndez Martínez thanked Dr. Ramos and Musical Bridges for bringing the festival to his beautiful city.

On 13 March 2015, Barynya, Gibaro de Puerto Rico and the Flying Balalaika Brothers dazzled the city of Auguadilla with a sunset performance outside on the city plaza. Over a thousand people made their way to the city square for the performance and danced and sang along with the show. The show concluded with a beautiful, colorful collaboration as all performers joined together with casual dancing and laughter!

On 14-15 March 2015, the Russian Festival left Auguadilla and headed to San Juan for a performance at the beautiful Teatro Tapia; located in the heart of the city.  Attendees included special guest and Honorable Consul of the Russian Federation, Anastasia Kitsul. Performers included Barynya, the Flying Balalaika Brothers, Duo Aleanya and Gibaro de Puerto Rico. Both concerts were a huge success with a large audience in attendance.

On 16 March 2015, the team headed by means of a charter bus to the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey. The musicians were greeted with an extremely warm welcome at the Teatro Ramon Ferde. After the show, the stage filled with audience members taking pictures and waiting to talk to the musicians. They were so touched to have this festival in their city.

Muscial Bridges Around the World would like to thank the following sponsors for making the festival possible: Aguadilla Mall, Aguadilla City, Cayey, Gibaro de Puerto Rico, Mini Warehouse, City of San Juan, and Universidad de Puerto Rico en Cayey. We would also like to thank Dr. Ramos and all of the countless volunteers who extended such immeasurable hospitality during the festival!


"Unfolding Dimensions" by Sandy Whitby & Lauren Browning

unfolding dimensions 2 1Musical Bridges' Art Gallery hosted its second opening of the 17th season on Friday, February 13th.  The opening celebrated “Unfolding Dimensions," the first combined exhibit of artists Sandy Whitby and Lauren Browning.

A constant flow of over 150 guests moved throughout the gallery-enjoying art, wine, hors d'oeuvres, and live jazz by George and Aaron Prado.

Sandy and Lauren’s work attracted many first time visitors to the MBAW gallery; one guest said that it was the best art opening she’s attended in over 20 years.

MBAW Board Member Paul Martin was among the first to buy a piece from the opening — he was drawn to “Perseverance,” a quartzite and shale sculpture by artist Lauren Browning and is happy to add it to his art collection. (Pictured left).

The exhibit “Unfolding Dimensions” at the Musical Bridges' Art Gallery will be available for viewing through the end of March.  To schedule a visit, please call (210) 464-1534.


Superbowl Sunday at San Fernando

Over 300 San Antonians gathered together at the San Fernando Cathedral on Superbowl Sunday, February 1, 2015 for "Strauss & Golden Greece" as part of the city-wide Strauss Festival.

The New York-based Canellakis-Brown duo, "a pair of adventurous young talents" presented a sonata for cello & piano along with their own Greek-flavored compositions for an enthusiastic crowd.  Attendees included among others, visitors from the Ivory Coast of Africa (pictured below).

Click HERE to see a review of the concert from the Rivard Report. 

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Kids to Concerts-Espana!

On January 16 & 26-27, 2015 Antonio Granjero and Estefania Ramirez of Entreflamenco Company visited 5 San Antonio Elementary schools: Bob Hope, Hidden Cove, Oak Meadow, Steubing, & Redland Oaks.

MBAW's interactive and exciting program incorporated TEKS and STEM curriculum-teaching the culture and geography of Spain through music.

About 2,500 children learned about flamenco, rythm & sound, history, ethnic instruments, and Spanish language during the 40 minute program.

Antonio & Estefania brought one of their scholarship students from their non-profit Spanish DanzArt Society as well. The students in the audience were very excited to see someone their age performing on stage!

During each program, the artists selected about 20 students from the audience to join them on stage and learn the art of flamenco. (Some of the teachers and principals joined them on stage as they wanted to learn too!) By the end of the program, many of the students and teachers were cheering, "Ole!"

MBAW would like to thank District 4 Councilman Rey Saldana, District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg, and District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher for generously sponsoring the program at those schools.

We are looking forward to our next segment with the Austin Troubadours on March 5 & 6th! For details on how to bring the Kids to Concerts program to your school please contact Diana Tatu by clicking HERE.


Kids to Concerts-Russia!

Musical Bridges Around the World is proud to report another successful segment of our community outreach Kids to Concerts program at no charge to the schools visited!

On January 22-23 & 26-27, the Flying Balalaika Brothers from Austin visited 8 San Antonio elementary schools:  Fernandez, Madison, Oak Meadow, Colonies North, Scobee, Howsman, Leon Springs & Glenoaks.

MBAW's interactive and exciting program incorporated TEKS and STEM curriculum-teaching the culture and geography of Russia through music.

About 7,500 children learned about rythm & sound, dance, history, ethnic instruments and Russian language during the 40 minute program.

Each program included an interactive dance where the entire school participated and counted in Russian! During the Q & A students at several of the schools asked the musicians how they were able to move their hands so fast to play their instruments.  This was a wonderful opportunity for the musicians to share the importance of practice in order to reach their goals and be the best that they can be!

MBAW would like to thank District 6 Councilman Ray Lopez, District 7 Cris Medina, and District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg for sponsoring the program at those schools.

For details on how to bring the Kids to Concerts program to your school please contact Diana Tatu by clicking HERE.


Musical Bridges' Artistic Director Returns from NYC for Chamber Music America Conference

Musical Bridges' Artistic Director Anya Grokhovski returned from New York on January 18, 2015 after attending the Chamber Music America Conference. The purpose of this trip was to find new and exciting talent for Musical Bridges' future programming and take part in ongoing conversations about the future of chamber music in America.

Workshops and artist showcases presented an impressive group of young and seasoned musicians with very diverse programming. Many musical offerings included unexpected instrumentations and were truly high-end chamber ensembles.

Among others, Anya met with Japanese and Chinese cultural organizations based in New York.  We are looking forward to introducing these cultures to the San Antonio community in 2016.

Anya is looking forward to future conversations with managers and artists in order to create ONE-OF-A-KIND, international programming for MBAW's 18th season.


MBAW Hosts Winter Recital

On Saturday, December 13, 2015, Musical Bridges Office/Art Gallery was the site of the International Academy of Music San Antonio’s winter recital, free of charge.

The International Academy of Music San Antonio (formerly Crownridge Music Academy) is a music school dedicated to transforming lives and enriching our community through music education. Students of all ages, abilities, and economic circumstances participate in lessons, classes, ensembles, performances and special events.

Musical Bridges would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Anya Grokhovski for coordinating the event and for bringing IAM’s winter recital to our gallery!

IMA-1214 from Musical Bridges Around The World on Vimeo.

Welcome Vanessa Sanchez, New Development & Communications Assistant

Vanessa Sanchez2

Musical Bridges is excited to announce a new addition to its musical family as of January 2015 -- Development and Communications Assistant, Vanessa M. Sanchez! Central Texas Pain Center has generously underwritten this position for MBAW.

Ms. Sanchez’s role will entail working with the Director of Development and Marketing to research grantmakers, apply for grants, write press releases, manage the social media accounts, among other related tasks. Her love and passion for music led her to volunteer for MBAW, where she met the team and later accepted her current job.

Ms. Sanchez is also a freelance Music journalist, recently covering Ringo Starr’s performance at the Tobin Center for Performing Arts. Click HERE to read her story. In her free time, Sanchez participates in the Texas A&M University Voices Choral Group.

Musical Bridges would like to thank Board President Dr. Eric Miller of Central Texas Pain Center for his inconceivable generosity.