Anya Grokhovski, DMA
Artistic Director & CEO
Anya Grokhovski received her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees in piano performance from the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, Russia. She was a professor at the Gnessin State College in Moscow prior to coming to the US in 1989. The position of a staff accompanist at UTSA brought her to San Antonio in 1991. Born into a family of professional musicians, her father was a violinist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestraa and her mother is a noted violin teacher, Anya was exposed to music from early age. In the US she had the great honor of serving as the accompanist for the legendary American bass-baritone, William Warfield. She has recorded with: the Moscow State Symphony, German, Swiss, and Czech National Radio, numerous piano solo recordings, as well as
chamber music CDs and DVDs. Anya has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at festivals in: Holland, Norway, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Russia, Estonia, Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Mexico and Carnegie Hall in New York. Anya’s fiery passion for music, commitment to San Antonio, and connections to world-class musicians provided a platform for the creation of an exciting new musical experience Musical Bridges Around the World. With the avid support of a group of local music lovers in 1998 Anya designed a series of salon concerts in private residences. By 1999, programming extended to San Fernando Cathedral, and in 2000 to McAllister Auditorium. Currently MBAW programming reaching over 80,000 people a year in the greater San Antonio metro area. In addition to being CEO and Artistic Director of Musical Bridges Around the World Anya continues to concertize internationally as a member of piano Duo AleAnya.
Suhail Arastu was raised in San Antonio, Texas and studied Neurobiology & Classics at The University of California, Berkeley where he competed as an NCAA Gymnast. In Philadelphia he began graduate studies before moving to a small Japanese mountain village for a year of contemplation, deep sea fishing, hiking, skiing and teaching. He then travelled the world by ship under the auspices of the United Nations Economic & Social Council before returning home in 2008. He served two terms as a Trustee of The Mind Science Foundation, one term on the Board of Directors of Gemini Ink and is the Arts & Culture Chair for Anuja San Antonio – the organization managing San Antonio’s Sister City Relations with Chennai, India. Suhail is the Mayor’s appointee to the Public Art Commission and enjoys serving on the Board of Directors of Constitution Cafe & The Lone Star Art Alliance. He was elected to the 40th Class of Leadership San Antonio and completed a Marshall Memorial Fellowship in Spring of 2018; in August of the same year he was appointed to serve on the Board of Sister Cities International, a Washington DC based organization that grew out of the League of Cities under President Eisenhower. He leads Yoga privately and at Yoga in Motion. A collection of Suhail’s photographs from seven continents was shown at PechaKucha Volume 5.
Diana Tatu was raised in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism at SUNY Plattsburgh. She began her career in western New York at WWNY-TV and soon expanded her horizons at WBLH-Radio. After several years of working in her field, she decided to explore another avenue as a Marketing Director in Watertown, NY, where she remained until relocating to San Antonio with her husband. With over 13 years of experience as a pianist, in addition to her work for MBAW, Diana dedicates many hours each week as a US Air Force-JBSA contracted pianist. San Antonio has fueled her passion for music, art and culture and she considers this beautiful city her home.
Artistic Coordinator & Staff Pianist
Concert pianist Elena Portnaya holds two Doctoral Degrees from Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and the University of Texas at Austin. Elena is a laureate of numerous international piano competitions and has performed solo and in chamber ensembles in Russia, Poland, England, Portugal, Argentina, Italy, Switzerland and the United States. In 2010-2011 season she was a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, working on the preparation of Madame Butterfly, Dead Man Walking and Ariadne auf Naxos, and other works under the baton of the maestro Patrick Summers. Elena is currently the Artistic Coordinator at Musical Bridges Around the World.
Director of Development
Julya Jara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from The Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute in Moscow, Russia. After graduation, between acting gigs for theatre and film she also got to explore the world of Television – at different times working as an Economic Correspondent, a Broadcast Journalist (Newsroom) and a Weather Presenter on major Russian TV channels. After relocating to San Antonio she emerged herself into the world of theatre, where she has been seen on stages of The Playhouse, The Classic Theatre, The AtticRep and The Overtime. Julya is a photographer and a video producer, at Musical Bridges she continues to serve the arts as Donor Relations Director and Gallerist.
Director of Educational Outreach
Mr. Gonzalez was the recipient of MBAW’s 2011 Volunteer Award, and has singlehandedly taken Kids to Concerts to the next level. He is a leading force in developing lesson plans and curriculum for the schools visited. For years, he has coordinated the scheduling of the in-school concerts, and has also provided in-kind donations of sound and musical equipment through his business, BandStar Music. Mr. Gonzalez studied Fine Arts at San Antonio College and the University of Texas at San Antonio. He has a Masters degree in Education from Lamar University and has been involved in education for over 24 years either as an After School teacher, Fine Arts Teacher or School Counselor in the school districts of Southwest and Northside in San Antonio. He has led fine arts programs for over 17 years in the elementary and middle school setting and served as the Theater Director while being the School Counselor. He continues to serve the schools and run programs
through his company and as an independent advocate for the arts and how it applies to the self efficacy of children. He and his beautiful wife, Dalila, have a two boys, Ethan and Levi.
Volunteer Coordinator & Office Assistant
Emily Estill was raised in the Austin area, and graduated summa cum laude from the Honors College at Houston Baptist University with a B.A. in Philosophy. She began her career in a pain management clinic in Austin, where she met Dr. Eric Miller. She currently works with his non-profit organization, and helps Musical Bridges with administrative tasks.
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