Elizabeth Friedman

Elizabeth Friedman has become a symbol of San Antonio hospitality in the eyes of Musical Bridges International artists.  Elizabeth’s big soul, beautiful house and wonderful family took our famous artists under their wing.  Many creative one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations were formed in Elizabeth’s living room and professional chef kitchen.  She has become a invaluable asset to our organization; hosting musicians from all over the world and taking care of them as if they were family.  Her tireless volunteering and quiet determination has touched many lives, young and old.  We would like to express our gratitude for the vital role she has played in making every concert a great success!

The Outstanding Volunteer Award was founded in 2009 in memory of Musical Bridges dear friend and Board Member Sharon Romer.


Adilya Khassianova

Adilya Khassianova was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. She earned her B.A. in piano performance at the Russian Gnessin Academy of Music. She moved to the United States in 1998 to earn her Master’s degree at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. After a year and a half she relocated to San Antonio and attended the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Ms. Khassianova currently works for Blakely Medical Devices. In her spare time she enjoys travel, music, swimming and spending time with her son, Vail.


Sveta Zhilkibaeva

Sveta Zhilkibaeva was born and raised in the Soviet Union, in the family of an Army officer, and as most Soviet children she attended a musical school (piano) in addition to regular school. Sveta graduated from a university in St. Petersburg (Leningrad) with a degree in speech pathology. After graduating, she got married and moved to Kyrgyzstan, which became an independent republic after USSR’s collapse in 1991.

Before moving to the US, Sveta worked for over three decades as a speech pathologist at the Center for Family Medicine and as the chief speech pathologist at the Bishkek Health Department. She has two children: daughter Vickie who is an officer in the US Air Force, and son Gary, a student at UTSA, and three wonderful grandchildren who play the piano and cello.
She came to the US to help her daughter with her children. Sveta used to take them to classical music concerts at the Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN where her family lived previously before moving to Texas.


Caleb Gonzalez

Caleb Gonzalez has singlehandedly taken Musical Bridges’ educational outreach vehicle, Kids to Concerts, to the next level.  Not only does he coordinate scheduling of 10 in-school concerts per year, reaching approximately 7,000 economically disadvantaged students, he also provides sound and musical equipment in-kind, through his business, Bandstar Music.  Bandstar Music is a musical instrument company Mr. Gonzales owns, which provides rental and purchase of musical instruments to school band and orchestra programs in the San Antonio and Austin areas.  Mr. Gonzalez studied Fine Arts at San Antonio College and the University of Texas at San Antonio.  He has taught music and fine arts in San Antonio for 12 years.  He has a beautiful wife, Dalila Gonzalez, and a one year old son, Ethan


Ray McDonald

Our recipient of the 2010 Outstanding Volunteer Award, was born and raised in Rochester, New York.  A graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, this small town boy was introduced to the world through his service with the United States Air Force.  Employed by Mobil Oil Company, Mr. McDonald came to Texas in 1972.  By 1985 he had been introduced to the San Antonio Symphony and has been attending ever since.  Now retired, Mr. McDonald serves several local artistic organizations, volunteering his time and friendly assistance at musical and theatrical productions, as well as other nonprofit organizations.  Mr. McDonald is a proud board member of the San Antonio Chamber Music Society.  He is devoted to the growth of the San Antonio arts scene and it is an honor to recognize his diligent service with this award.