Every year before New Year’s Eve I like to reflect on my life. I decided to dedicate this blog to Musical Bridges Around the World. We will celebrate our 15th Anniversary in 2012.

Vladimir Bochkarev, Anya's former piano professor Vladimir Bochkarev, Anya’s former piano professor

In 1998, I was working at UTSA as a staff accompanist not really liking the job and looking for something fun to do. I invited Vladimir, one of my former piano professors from Moscow, to visit San Antonio. In order to help pay his airfare I asked the Mexican Cultural Institute to organize a concert for him. To make a long story short, the concert did not happen and he needed help with the airfare, so my former piano students Dr. Jan Puckett and Dr. Sheila Swartsman offered to host a house concert. And this was the official birth of Musical Bridges Around the World.

I remember Mike Greenberg interviewing me for the upcoming NEW San Fernando Series in 1999… one of the first questions was… “What is your budget?” I am glad that at the time I did not know what a budget was or I probably would not have started a concert organization. The first few years were fun; my family and friends, with a lot of enthusiasm (and for free), performed most of the concerts. Our first Board of Directors consisted of 7 girlfriends who made it happen. Teresa was a lawyer and got us incorporated; Suzan, a CPA got us 501(c)(3) non-profit status; Sheila became the first Board president. I remember how she was typing by hand our first mailing list and Jan was sending out invitations to our house concerts to her personal friends; Susan Dunis, Gladys Miller, Connie White –a creative bunch who loved music. All these wonderful women changed my life.

Anya, Glades,Connie, Susan Anya, Gladys,Connie, Susan

Over the last 15 years the artistic vision has evolved from my family musical circle into a unique multicultural performing arts company, a true reflection of our ever-changing cosmopolitan city. Many wonderful people gave their soul, time, and money to this idea as Board members, volunteers, and employees and I sincerely thank them. Our current Board of Directors is a fantastic group of passionate professionals who govern, support and bring life into Musical Bridges’ current operations.

I created Musical Bridges and in a way it created me. I have learned a lot in these 15 years. Musical Bridges taught me how to communicate with people, it taught me respect and compassion. It taught me to see the big picture and be supportive of other organizations; it taught me to care about our San Antonio cultural scene as a whole. Prosperity of this organization is more important for me than my personal ambitions. Everything I do professionally is for the betterment of Musical Bridges.

Sheila, Vladimir and Jan after the first concert Sheila, Vladimir and Jan after the first concert

I look towards 2012 with optimism and hope. I have my wish list I hope will come true… (like a couple of full time employees)… Now I know what a budget is and I wish us a continuous increase in the budget to support new creative endeavors. I wish myself unending creativity for the season to come and I wish all of you the best of health, happiness, and lot of love.

I will see you at the concerts!