"Metamorphosis" by Kevork Mourad & Mahdi Vali

Musical Bridges' Art Gallery hosted its fourth opening of our 17th season on Saturday, May 30th. The opening celebrated “Metamorphosis,” the first combined exhibit of artists Kevork Mourad and Mahdi Vali (and the first US exhibit for Mahdi).

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

Kevork and Mahdi’s work attracted many new guests to the gallery, expats from Syria and Iran; among others, passionate about their art and the message within.

The exhibit “Metamorphosis” at Musical Bridges’ Art Gallery will be available for viewing through June 19th. To schedule a visit, please call (210) 464-1534. 


Music Bridges Cultures During International Music Festival

casteneda audience

From Rivard Report, May 28, 2015

By:  Adam Tutor, Writer

The wanderlust audiophiles may find themselves embarking upon a musical journey of Homeric proportions after being inspired this past week, a week where the world came to them. Living true to their name, Musical Bridges Around The World (MBAW) once again hosted the International Music Festival, enticingly paving the path for pedestrians to walk upon and then stand upon to listen.

Seven concerts intertwined to create the brilliantly vibrant musical tapestry over the course of May 14-24, and San Antonio proudly welcomed an even greater cultural palette to its already rich environment.

Sitting peacefully on my front porch last Friday afternoon, I listened carefully to his words. “My primary mode is improvisational, every sound I make is a choice,” he said. “If you really scrutinize the idea of improvisation, it is so basic to us, part of who and what we are as a species.”

Click HERE to read the full article.

Kids to Concerts-Europe!

On April 9-10, 2015 the Metropolitan Klezmer from NYC visited 6 San Antonio Elementary schools: Kuentz, Carlos Coon, Kriewald Road, Leon Springs, Larkspur, and Neal Elementary.

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

About 3,000 children learned about Yiddish culture, rythm & sound, history, and Yiddish language during the 40 minute program.

One highlight for the children was when Saxophonist Debra Kreisburg taught the students about the history of the saxophone and how it was invented by a man called “Mr. Sax.”

By the end of the performance the students were all saying “A shenem dank,” which means thank you in Yiddish!

MBAW would like to thank the Texas Commission on the Arts for generously 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.

Klezmer1 Klezmer2

Danville Chadbourne "Sculptures & Paintings"

Musical Bridges' Art Gallery hosted its third opening of the 17th season on Saturday, April 4th with San Antonio artist Danville Chadbourne.

Danville has called San Antonio home since 1979 and his loyal following brought many new faces to the MBAW gallery. 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.

MBAW Board Member Paul Martin was among the first to purchase one of Danville’s clay sculptures, a piece that was admired by many! He is so thrilled to add it to his art collection.

To schedule a visit to MBAW’s art gallery, please call (210) 464-1534.




Kids to Concerts-Medieval Renaissance!

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 March 6 & 19th, the Austin Troubadours from Austin visited 6 San Antonio elementary schools:  Hirsch, Herff, Collins Garden, Kuentz, Huebner & Krueger.  

MBAW's interactive and exciting program incorporated TEKS and STEM curriculum-teaching the culture, history and geography of the Medieval Renaissance time period through music.  About 3,000 children learned about rhythm & sound, dance, history, and ethnic instruments and clothing during the 40 minute program.  The children were very excited to see first-hand several “grandparents” of modern day instruments!  

MBAW would like to thank the Texas Commission on the Arts 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.



MBAW Trip to D.C


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Musical Bridges Around the World (MBAW) recently met with a number of high-ranking embassy officials and cultural attachés representing Brazil, India, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom as part of a City of San Antonio delegation to the Sister Cities International Diplomatic Gala in Washington, D.C.

Musical Bridges capitalized on the opportunity to nourish its growing relations with San Antonio Sister Cities and develop new relations where it can strengthen cultural ties. “Music resonates with everyone,” said Suhail Arastu, MBAW Director of Development. “It’s a great way to build bridges through the universal language of music and work towards world peace.” 

Led by District 8 City Councilman Ron Nirenberg, the delegation also included Shahrzad Dowlatshahi, Chief of Protocol & Head of International Relations Office; Anya Grokhovski, MBAW Artistic Director and CEO; and Arastu.

“In our connected world, ideas and people cross national borders with frequency and ease, and music is often the powerful common denominator,” Nirenberg said. “MBAW is an invaluable program that helps San Antonio strengthen ties with its sister cities across the globe and reaffirms our deep international roots.”

With a unique international outlook, MBAW plans to liaise with embassies around the world to develop cultural exchange programs and share artists as part of both their programming outreach and International Music Festival. The Festival aims to put a creative spin on international news by highlighting the artistry and beauty which are often overlooked by traditional media.

 “We want to continue to foster relationships with our sister cities and expand these relations to complimentary cities in other nations,” Arastu said. 

MBAW has partnered with the San Antonio-Chennai Sister City organization, Anuja for city-wide Diwali, or Festival of Lights Celebration attracting upwards of 17,000 attendees. Arastu serves as the Arts & Culture Chair of Anuja SA and hopes to expand upon performing arts programming with other entities, building Musical Bridges within the Alamo City and with partners abroad.

Dowlatshahi added that the International Relations Office places great importance on building awareness about San Antonio amongst the Foreign Diplomatic Corps in the United States.

“Being able to promote San Antonio’s cultural, economic and educational assets to representatives of foreign government is always a good opportunity to raise our global profile,” she said. “At the same time, these new relationships serve to open doors that enable an organization such as MBAW to bring the world to San Antonio through their international musical programming.”

Grokhovski said MBAW was honored to join the City of San Antonio delegation as the organization prepares to lay the groundwork for its 20th anniversary in 2018, which coincides with the 300th anniversary of San Antonio.



Elena Portnaya Visits 3 San Antonio Retirement Communities

Musical Bridges Around the World (MBAW) completed the third segment of its new retirement community outreach program, Golden Age, funded by the Texas Commission on the Arts.  Russian pianist Elena Portnaya visited three different retirement communities on April 18, 2015; Adante Senior Living, Army Residence Community, and The Chandler at Morningside Ministries.

Elena brought her 45 minute program to each of the three retirement communities; performing among others, Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” and visited with the residents.

A special thanks to the Texas Commission on the Arts, and all of the participating retirement communities for making this concert series a success!


Pianist Elena Portnaya studied at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Russia. Among other accomplishments, Elena has won several awards including: 1st Prize Winner of the “Classical Legacy” International Piano Competition and Special Prize for the best interpretation of a piece by Rachmaninov (Moscow), 4th Prize Winner of the Alexander Tansman International Competition of Musical Personalities and Special Prize from Chopin’s Society for the best interpretation of a piece by Chopin (Lodz, Poland), 3rd Prize in the International Piano Competition in Porto (Portugal) and 1st Prize Winner of the Sidney Wright Competition at UT Austin as a best collaborative pianist.

Encuentro de Culturas 2015

Inspired by former board president, Dr. Awilda Ramos, members of MBAW’s team visited Puerto Rico. Dr. Anya Grokhovski, Artistic Director and CEO, Diana Tatu, Executive Assistant, and Vanessa Sanchez, Development and Communications Assistant, along with media producer James Sanders, and apprentice Clemence Le Saux, traveled with Russian and Ukrainian dancers and musicians, for MBAW’s Puerto Rico debut!

Dr. Grokhovski created a spectacular lineup of the world-renowned Barynya from New York, the Flying Balalaika Brothers from Austin, Duo Aleanya from San Antonio, and Gibaro de Puerto Rico. Each day was a new adventure as we traversed the Caribbean island.


After arriving, the Flying Balalaika Brothers visited a school in Auguadilla, sharing Russian culture and music with students. They later joined Barynya entertaining guests during an event with Mayor Carlos Méndez Martínez in City Hall. The first public performance began on the City Plaza at sunset overlooking one of Aguadilla's many beaches. More than a thousand people made their way to the plaza, dancing and singing until the very end for a colorful grand finale with all the performers! 

The group then travelled from Aguadilla to San Juan for a performance at the historical Teatro Tapia - located in the heart of the city - for a two-night show. Attendees included special guest, the Honorable Consul of the Russian Federation, Anastasia Kitsul. Each concert was a huge success with a large, packed house.

On the last day, the team headed to the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey where musicians were greeted with a warm welcome at the Teatro Ramon Ferde. Enthusiastic concertgoers filled the stage following the concert, lining up for photos with the musicians and dancers while expressing their gratitude and appreciation for this free festival.

Musical Bridges Around the World would like to thank the following sponsors: Aguadilla Mall, Aguadilla City, Drs. Awilda & Luis Ramos, City of 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 immeasurable hospitality during the festival!