The City of San Antonio boasts an array of Texas's most diverse artistic sensibilities, religious beliefs, and ethnicities. Anya Grokhovski, our Artistic Director, scours the planet to find musicians whose exceptional talent communicates the uniting spirit of all of our sensibilities, across the expanses of time and world geography.
Enjoy the Season!
Season 16 Performers
Since capturing Second Prize in the 1982 Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition in Moscow, Mr. Cárdenes has appeared as a soloist on four continents with over 100 orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony, Sinfonica Nacional de Caracas, Sinfonica de Barcelona, and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra. He has collaborated with many of today’s greatest conductors, including Lorin Maazel, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Mariss Jansons, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Sir André Previn, Leonard Slatkin, Jaap van Zweden, David Zinman and Manfred Honeck.
Protégés of Maestro Zubin Mehta, international concert pianists Bishara Haroni and Yaron Kohlberg joined forces in 2011, forming the Israeli-Palestinian Piano Duo Amal. A collaboration which started in a concert for peace in the Opera House in Oslo has led to a permanent partnership which is becoming a highlight in the world's classical music scene. The duo's performances in prominent halls throughout the globe, such as the Beijing Concert Hall, the Melbourne Recital Centre, and Goyang Center of the arts in Korea, have led to critical acclaim and enthusiastic feedback. Future performances include recitals at New York's Metropolitan Museum, Salle Gaveau in Paris, Mushashino Center in Tokyo, London City Festival, among many others. Duo Amal will also play concert tours with the Israel Philharmonic and Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra in Italy, conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta and Maestro Christoph von Dohnanyi.
Kohlberg and Haroni have both played recitals since a young age, and have performed at the Carnegie Hall in NYC, Kremlin in Moscow, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Bellas Artes in Mexico City, among many others. Haroni and Kohlberg are active in efforts to bring Palestinians and Israelis together, and have formed a Palestinian-Israeli Cultural Club in Berlin. On a personal level, they have become close friends.
Baya Kakouberi, pianist, was born in Tbilisi, Georgia and received degrees from the Moscow Conservatory of Music. She has appeared as piano soloist with orchestras in Europe and the United States. Her career has brought her to China as well as Carnegie Hall. Ms. Kakouberi is founder and Artistic Director of the Blue Candlelight Chamber Music Series, and she on the faculty of the Elan International Music Festival. Ms. Kakouberi recently collaborated with violinist Gary Levinson for a four CD set recording of the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin for the Classical Music Recording Foundation.
Abdou Mboup was born in the small town of Kebemer, Senegal to a family of oral historians and musicians. Having studied traditional drumming under the tutelage of his family, Abdou soon became a key figure in the development of the Mbalax style (Senegalese dance music). In fact in the early 1970s, he was the first musician to incorporate various traditional instruments into Senegalese popular music. A few years later, he joined the renowned Dakar based group Xalam, which he toured Europe and Africa under the patronage of south African trumpeter, Hugh Masekela. He has toured and recorded in Africa, Europe, America, Southeastern Asia, Japan, Nepal and India. Abdou has written original composition for Jean Luc Ponty, Pharoah Sanders, Tom Tom Club and Randy Weston. Abdou Mboup currently teaches at the New School University, NY and lives in Union City, NJ.
Octavio Moreno studied at the Universidad de Sonora and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and is a Houston Grand Opera Studio artist. Principal teachers are Jesus Li, Marybel Ferrales, Bill Schuman and Stephen King. In 2002, he won the Grand Prize in the Mariana de Gonitch Competition in Havana, Cuba, and the Young Artist Prize in the Carlo Morelli National Voice Competition in Mexico City. In 2004 Octavio won first prize in the VIII Premio Ciudad Trujillo Competition in Peru. For the Academy of Vocal Arts he played the title roles in Don Giovanni and Rigoletto, Guglielmo (Le villi), Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), De Bretigny (Manon) and Renato (Un ballo in maschera).
Anton Nel, winner of the first prize in the 1987 Naumburg International Piano Competition at Carnegie Hall enjoys a remarkable career that has taken him to North and South America, Europe, Asia, and South Africa. Following an auspicious debut at the age of twelve with Beethoven’s C Major Concerto after only two years of study, the Johannesburg native captured first prizes in all the major South African competitions while still in his teens, toured extensively and became a well-known radio and television personality. Highlights of Mr. Nel’s nearly four decades of concertizing include performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, the symphonies of Chicago, San Francisco, and London, among many others. Anton Nel became a U.S. citizen on September 11, 2003. He is a Steinway artist.
Dr. Mei Rui is an internationally award-winning concert pianist, an avid chamber musician, and a dedicated piano teacher. A magna cum laude graduate from Yale, Mei holds duo-degrees in Molecular Biochemistry and Music. Equally active as a soloist and a chamber musician, Mei has been invited to perform at the prestigious Ravinia Festival, Van Cliburn Piano Institute, Music Academy of the West, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, The Perlman Festival, Taos School of Music, and Yellowbarn CChamber Music Festival. She has collaborated with the most eminent musicians in the world, including Paul Katz, Isaac Perlman, Roger Tapping, Peter Frankl, Claude Frank, and Members of the Ariel quartet.
Urmi Samadar is an accomplished performer, choreographer and trainer in Indian classical dance forms – Kathak and Odissi. She received her training in Kathak from Guru Sumitra Mitra Mukherjee (exponent of Jaipur Gharana) and Odissi from award winning exponent Guru Aloka Kanungo and Bharatanatyam from Guru Sumitra Mitra Mukherjee.
Besides endorsing the pure classical traditions, Urmi experiments by blending creative and regional forms in her productions. To widen her perspectives in western dances, she has attended courses and workshops in western dance forms such as Nia, Ballroom Dancing and Isodara Duncan Dance.
Urmi was a recognized child artist on Doordarshan (Indian television) and was invited to perform before Mrs. Indira Gandhi, late Prime Minister of India, at New Delhi, when she was in elementary school. Urmi has received several awards and positive media reviews throughout her dance career.
Her awards include:
- National Talent Scholarship – awarded by the Government of India, Ministry of Culture for Kathak dance for maximum number of years graduating from the junior to senior category
- Nehru Talent Search Scholarship for three consecutive years
- Winner of the prestigious United School Organization award (affiliated to UNESCO)
Critics have hailed Michael Schneider as “a pianist with exceptional insight,” at venues including Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, the International Chopin Festival at the château of George Sand in France, the Music Festival in the Hamptons, and the 8th Annual Paderewski Festival in California. Michael recently performed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, Mexico and in the famed Liszt Museum in Budapest. Michael was a featured guest artist at the Bicentennial Chopin Festival in Nohant, France in July 2010. In the fall of 2010, Michael was a visiting adjunct professor of piano at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX. He holds a doctorate degree from University of Texas in Austin.
The St. Petersburg Quartet is one of the world's most esteemed chamber ensembles. Their rise to fame has included a Grammy nomination, "Best Record" honors in both Stereo Review and Gramophone, an opening night performance at Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center, a five-year residency at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and hundreds of concerts on many of North America, Europe and Asia's most prestigious series and festivals.
Their current season includes a performance at Carnegie Hall; a collaboration with the Naumberg Piano Competition winner Anton Nel; and tours of England and France. Alla Aranovskaya and Leonid Shukayev are founding members of the SPSQ; Boris Vayner joined in 2005 and Evgeny Zvonnikov in 2010.
Eugenia Zukerman is a true Renaissance woman. While maintaining an international concert calendar with more than thirty performances annually, her multi-faceted career also includes distinguished work as an arts administrator, author, educator, internet entrepreneur, and journalist. In demand from New York to China as an orchestral soloist, chamber musician and recitalist, Eugenia Zukerman has been praised by The New York Times for her performances — "Her musicianship is consummate, her taste immaculate and her stage presence a sheer pleasure." She has enjoyed musical collaborations with Emmanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the Shanghai String Quartet and fellow flutists Jean- Pierre Rampal and James Galway. This season she will perform with the Manhattan Piano Trio in Pennsylvania, with the Symphony Space All-Stars in New York City in a festive concert of Brandenburg Concerti, and with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Lowell Liebermann's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra Op.39 conducted by Rossen Milanov, Music Director and Conductor. Miss Zukerman studied English at Barnard College and received a B.M. from The Juilliard School where she studied with the renowned flutist Julius Baker. She is an adjunct faculty member at New York University's Steinhardt School of Music and a frequent guest teacher at conservatories nationwide.