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 Orchestra and her mother is a noted violin teacher, Anya was exposed to music from an 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 reaches 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.
Native from San Juan, Argentina, Juan Pablo Jofre Romarion, aka “JP Jofre”, is an award-winning bandoneon player and composer. Mr. Jofre has been repeatedly highlighted by the New York Times and praised as “one of today’s leading artists” by Great Performers at Lincoln Center. His music has been recorded by 16 Grammy winner Paquito D’ Rivera, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and choreographed/performed by ballet-star Herman Cornejo (Principal
Dancer of the American Ballet Theatre) among others. He has performed and given lectures at Google Talks, TEDtalks, The Juilliard School of Music, The New School, etc.
A recipient of the National Prize of the Arts grant in Argentina, Mr. Jofre has collaborated with many famous musicians in a wide range of musical styles, including Paquito D’Rivera, Kathryn Stott, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Argentina, San Antonio Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Philippe Quint, Fernando Otero, and Fred Sturm among others.
J.P. Jofre began playing percussion and guitar at age 14 and later attended the Escuela de Musica de la Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Argentina, studying drums, guitar, piano, voice, and composition, before deciding to dedicate himself to the bandoneón. In 2003, Jofre gave his debut performance at the First International Festival of Chamber Music in Mendoza, Argentina, arranging pieces for 12 Cellos and Bandoneon. Jofre took privates classes in 2004 with Martin Ferres and soon after auditioned for Daniel Binelli, one of the world’s most sought-after bandoneonists/composers. He then studied under Julio Pane, world-renowned educator and former bandoneónista for the legendary “Astor Piazzolla Sextet”.
He currently leads the JP Jofre Quintet, the ensemble has been touring internationally since the release of their last album “Manifiesto”. His solo recordings have been released by RoundStar Entertainment for his debut album “Hard Tango”, produced by Gustavo Szulansky) Steinway Record Label, Armenia Mundi, and Progressive Sounds (independent).
J. Tullos Wells is Managing Director of the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation since Nov. 2014. He formerly was a partner in the San Antonio office of Bracewell, LLP, an international law firm, where he, among other roles, served as the General Counsel for the NBA San Antonio Spurs. He has held various civic and charitable posts during his career, including serving for 15 years as the Honorary Consul for Canada at San Antonio and as Chairman of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the Free Trade Alliance, The World Affairs Council and other leadership roles in the community. He is the father of McKensie Wells, who is a graduate student at Pepperdine University.
The Bronze Medal Winner of the 2015 World Piano Competition, Dr. Mei Rui was praised by the Boston Globe as a “riveting” virtuoso, and by Boston Musical Intelligencer as a concert artist with “deeply felt and intense musicality.” She has performed to critical acclaim in the US and abroad, including a recent performance of Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Rachmaninoff Concerto No.1 with synchronized live projection of her fMRI brain scans during the performance. A graduate of Yale University, Yale School of Music, and Stony Brook, she holds duo-degrees in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry (B.A.) & Music (M.M., A.D. D.M.A). As a music-in-medicine scientist, she has been appointed Assistant Professor of Music-in-Medicine in the Department of Surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital, Assistant Professor of Music-in-Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Visiting Assistant Professor in Organic & General Chemistry at the Sophie Davis Biomedical School. Dr. Rui spearheaded 5 IRB-approved human-subject clinical protocols investigating neurological & physiological impact of music intervention in various clinical cohorts, including ICU patients & acute-care ICU physicians/surgeons prone to sleep deprivation & burnout. In April 2020, she founded the MUSICARE Initiative in collaboration with the Houston Symphony to bring musical healing with live bedside concerts to isolated ICU patients.
A native of Shanghai, Mei began piano studies at the age of 3. She has performed in some of the most prestigious world stages, including Bennet Gordon Hall, Jordan Hall, Carnegie Hall (Weill), Steinway Hall, Merkin Hall, Stellar Performing Arts Center, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and Borden Auditorium.
Dr. Rui also maintains a full studio of award-winning students in Houston, TX, and was inducted into the prestigious Steinway Teacher Hall of Fame in 2020. She and her husband, a world-renowned cancer researcher who invented single cell sequencing, live in Houston, TX with their 5-year old son, 2-year old daughter, and musical dachshund named Ludwig.
Ron Nirenberg is the mayor of San Antonio, one of the nation’s fastest growing cities with the 7th largest population in the United States.
He was raised in Austin, Texas, and attended college in San Antonio. Nirenberg is the son of an immigrant from Southeast Asia and the grandson of immigrants from Eastern Europe who passed through Ellis Island. Through his personal experiences, Mayor Nirenberg developed a core commitment to civic participation and the universal values of liberty, justice, and equal opportunity for every person.
Mayor Nirenberg was re-elected to a second term on June 8, 2019.
He was first elected to represent District 8 on the San Antonio City Council in 2013. During his two terms, he championed smart city and regional planning, inclusive economic development, environmental stewardship, fiscal responsibility and governmental accountability.
As mayor, the city’s budget has been adopted with a focus on equity to ensure that all parts of the city have the same level of services and infrastructure. He is focused on making key investments necessary to accommodate the growth of San Antonio, which is expected to nearly double in population by 2040. This forward-looking approach drives the mayor’s vision of a compassionate community with a globally competitive economy.
Prior to his public service, Nirenberg was the founder of two small-businesses, worked as the general manager of KRTU-FM San Antonio, and as a program director for the Annenberg Public Policy Center where he developed and directed award-winning civic engagement programs.
Mayor Nirenberg graduated summa cum laude from Trinity University and received a Master’s Degree in Communication magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.
He and his wife, First Lady Erika Prosper, are the proud parents of their son, Jonah.
Nicole Randall has more than ten years of experience in operations, communications and public affairs, including in the public, private and non-profit sectors. She currently serves as the Senior Vice President of the international humanitarian non-profit, People to People International. She formerly served as the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Development for the organization. She also previously served as the Director of Communications for the state of Kansas’ Departments of Commerce and Transportation. She formerly held the position of Executive Producer for the Topeka news station, KSNT. She also served as a Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Army at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Her awards include receiving the President’s Award from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s granddaughter, Mary Jean Eisenhower at People to People International, a four-time First Place rank in the Keith L. Ware Public Affairs Awards for the U.S. Army, First Place for Best Newscast in the Kansas Broadcasting Authority competition and the honor of receiving the U.S. Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal presented by Major General H.R. McMaster. She serves on several boards including the Board of Directors for Sister Cities International, the Diversity and Inclusion Board of the Kansas City Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Military Veterans’ Project.
She has a master’s degree in Diplomacy from Norwich University in Vermont and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Plattsburgh State University in New York. She is currently receiving her Master of Business Administration at the University of Kansas. She lives in Basehor, Kansas with her son Kipper, her fiancé Merrill Eisenhower and her two step-children, John Edward and Elizabeth.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe on a tobacco farm and attending boarding school from the age of six, Claudia Hucks has stated she has been very fortunate to have a privileged upbringing, which allowed her to appreciate the little things and not take everything for granted. Claudia’s career started in the airline industry, which initially brought her to the States in 2000 on a three-week holiday. Mrs. Hucks started her U.S. career in the travel technology industry, and has come to realize how small this world really is. She married in 2008 to her current husband, who is in the Army. They have enjoyed 5 duty stations in over 8 years, taking them from Texas, New York, Georgia, Colorado and currently to Oregon. Together they have 3 children who are 11, 9 and 4, which has kept Mrs. Hucks plate full on a daily basis. But she constantly reminds herself how fortunate and healthy they are, to not take things for granted, and to always treat each other with kindness and respect.
Armenian soprano Mané Galoyan whom Houston Press exclaimed, “…Radiant as dewy Gilda <…> she possesses a crystalline voice that cuts through any orchestral texture.<…> She can float incandescent pianissimos then belt with Verdian thunder. You always knew where she was on stage, just follow that distinct, clear voice.” After an auspicious debut with the Metropolitan Opera last season, Mané Galoyan will return there in 2020/2021 to sing Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and will also debut at Zürich Opernhaus as Adina in L’elisir d’amore. Ms. Galoyan will also start as an ensemble member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, perform as Violetta Valéry in 7 Deaths of Maria Callas, Micaëla in Carmen, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Garsenda in Francesca da Rimini, Violetta Valéry in La traviata, and more.
Ms. Galoyan made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2019-20 season as Prilepa/Chlöe in Pique Dame, conducted by Vasily Petrenko. She also returned to Houston Grand Opera to sing Gilda in Rigoletto, debuted with Hawaii Opera Theatre as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, and finally, performed the role of Giannetta and covered Adina in L’elisir d’Amore with the Glyndebourne Festival. Highlights elsewhere included a solo recital with Cypress Creek FACE and with Musical Bridges Around the World.
Ms. Galoyan’s extensive concert performances include Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Schubert’s Mass in G and Mass in C, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, as well as the Fauré Requiem. She is a winner of numerous international competitions: First Prize in the 27th Eleanor McCollum Competition and Concert of Arias with Houston Grand Opera, Third Prize in the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, Third Prize in the 2017 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, among others. Ms. Galoyan is a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and holds two degrees from the Yerevan State Komitas Conservatory in Armenia.
Adriana Flores was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She graduated from Texas A&M University at College Station with a Bachelors Degree in English. She obtained her Master of Science in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She worked for the San Antonio Public Library for 10 years and left as a Branch Manager of the Johnston Library. Her love of literature, music and education returned her to work with her family business, Alamo Music Center. She runs Alamo Music Center with her two nephews, continuing its history into its fourth generation. She shares her love of music and the arts with her two sons, as they learn and explore all forms of arts in San Antonio together.
Cristina Pato is a Galician bagpiper (gaita), a classical pianist, a writer and a passionate educator. Hailed as “a virtuosic burst of energy” by The New York Times, her professional life is devoted to teaching and performance that explores the role of the arts and sciences in society.
In addition to her work as a performing and recording musician, Cristina has been artist-in-residence and instructor at universities including Harvard and the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she co-created a groundbreaking class on memory with neuroscientist Kenneth S. Kosik and artist Kim Yasuda. She has also served as Learning Advisor for Silkroad, the organization founded by Yo-Yo Ma. Cristina is the founder of the multidisciplinary Galician Connection Festival, writes a weekly column for the Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia, and was the 2019-20 Chair of Spanish Culture and Civilization at the King Juan Carlos I Center at New York University.
Cristina holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Rutgers University, degrees in piano, music theory, and chamber music from the Conservatorio de Musica del Liceu, and a Master of Digital Arts from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies at Universidade de Santiago de Compostela.
Cristina divides her time between New York City and Galicia and is married to photographer Xan Padrón.
Diana Osborne graduated with honors from the State University of New York Plattsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism. Diana is currently expanding her education with an Executive Masters Degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University along with a Nonprofit Management Certificate Program through Our Lady of the Lake University School of Business and Leadership. While in New York, she worked in television both on screen as a reporter and off screen as a production assistant for “7 News” WWNY-TV, broadcast on CBS. Diana also worked in radio as on-air talent under the tutelage of “Wes Shockley” with WBLH-Radio. In 2012, Diana moved to San Antonio and fell in love with Musical Bridges Around the World’s mission and has been with the organization ever since. When Diana joined the team, she was the second full time staff member, working alongside Founder, Artistic Director & CEO, Anya Grokhovski. The team has since expanded to a full time staff of 6 with more than 50 contractors each season. As Office and Grants Manager, Diana provides administrative and organizational support to include invoicing and accounts payable; maintaining records and producing reports; managing MBAW’s portfolio of grants to include overseeing writing and reporting; researching, managing and implementing new employee benefit programs; program coordination; booking and coordinating travel; handling contracts with artists and vendors; and managing annual audit process and accounting alongside Board Treasurer and CEO and communications. With over 15 years of experience as a pianist, in addition to her work for MBAW, Diana has dedicated many hours in churches across the country including US Air Force-Joint Base San Antonio (contracted) and Fort Drum Chapel Next.
Pianist Valeri Grokhovski is an accomplished virtuoso in both classical and jazz with “the golden touch.” Educated in Moscow, Russia – Valeri holds a Doctorate degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. Recognized by the Russian government as one of the most prominent Russian musicians of his time, he performs around the country and the world. Among other performances, Carnegie Hall brought rave reviews! Valeri has recorded over 20 albums of classical and jazz solo work and has performed alongside orchestras on Naxos Records and Metropolis among others. He is currently Vice-Rector for Secondary Special Education, Director of the Gnessin College, Dean of the Faculty of Musical Variety Art.
One of his most recent accomplishments came in 2018, when Li represented the Eastman School of Music for a recital at New York City’s acclaimed Carnegie Hall. This came to be after winning Eastman’s Douglas Lowry Award. Three years before, Jiale won 1st prize at the Eastman Concerto Competition, the same year he enrolled to pursue a Master of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music. Li has also earned prizes in many prestigious piano competitions such as: Gold Medal at the Gurwitz International Piano Competition, 1st Prize in the “Conservatory Cup” Piano Competition; 1st Prize and Best Performance of Schubert’s Works at the Yamaha Award Competition; and 3rd place at the 5th International Competition of Young Pianists “A Step Towards Mastery” in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Jiale was born in Huludao, Liaoning Province of China. He began piano studies at a young age until he was admitted in 2004 to the Middle School Attached to the Shenyang Conservatory of Music. In 2007, Jiale placed first on the entrance examination at the Middle School Attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and studied there for three years as a high school student. In 2010, Jiale was admitted to five music conservatories in the U.S. and entered the Juilliard School to study with Mr. Seymour Lipkin. Jiale also participated in several summer courses during his undergraduate years such as the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Los Angeles Music Festival; and ANME Asian New Music Festival. In Fall 2015, Jiale entered the Eastman School of Music to pursue a Master of Music Degree.
Jiale is currently pursuing a DMA degree at the Eastman School of Music as a student of Professor Nelita True.
Born in Qamishli, Syria, Kevork Mourad now lives and works in New York City. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts in Armenia.
Mourad employs his technique of live drawing and animation in concert with musicians – developing a collaboration in which art and music harmonize with one another. Collaborators include Yo-Yo Ma, Kim Kashkashian, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Brooklyn Rider, The Knights, Perspectives Ensemble, Paola Prestini, and Kinan Azmeh. Institution performances include The Art Institute of Chicago, The American Museum of Natural History, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, Nara Museum (Japan), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more.
Mourad has been a resident teacher at Brandeis University, Harvard University, and Holy Cross. He is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and is featured in the film “Music of Strangers” (2016).
Recent commissions include Israel in Egypt, Sound of Stone to accompany the exhibition “Armenia!” and Well Wish Ya with the OYO Dance Troupe in Namibia. His performance Home
Within co-produced with clarinetist Kinan Azmeh has toured the world. In September 2019, he exhibited at Latitude, in Yerevan, Armenia, alongside Imran Qureshi, Roberto Pugliese, and Walid Siti. That year he was also commissioned by the Aga Khan Foundation to create a site-specific 20-foot drawing-sculpture called Seeing Through Babel, at London’s Ismaili Center, addressing the importance of diversity in our contemporary times. The piece was exhibited starting in October 2020 at the Asia Society Triennial in New York. In October 2020 he also premiered the visuals for Beethoven’s Fidelio for the Korea National Opera. His works are in the permanent collection of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.
Hailed as “intensely soulful” and a “virtuoso” by The New York Times and “spellbinding” by The New Yorker, Winner of OpusKlassik award in 2019 clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh has gained international recognition for what the CBC has called his “incredibly rich sound” and his distinctive compositional voice across diverse musical genres.
Originally from Damascus, Syria, Kinan Azmeh brings his music to all corners of the world as a soloist, composer and improviser. Notable appearances include the Opera Bastille, Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, Teatro Colon, Der Philharmonie, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, and many more. He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others, and has shared the stage with such musical luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Marcel Khalife, Aynur, Daniel Barenboim, and Jivan Gasparian.
Kinan’s compositions include several works for solo, chamber, and orchestral music, as well as music for film, live illustration, and electronics. Kinan’s discography includes three ensemble albums, a duo album, and an album with his New York “Arabic-jazz” quartet the Kinan Azmeh City Band. His album “Uneven Sky” with the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra has won the OpusKlassik Award in 2019. He serves as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players, a pan-Arab ensemble dedicated to contemporary music form the Arab world. He is also a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble.
Kinan Azmeh is a graduate of New York’s Juilliard School as a student of Charles Neidich, and of both the Damascus High institute of Music where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering. Kinan earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013.
“Poet in every inch of his fingers” – Le Progres
Nikolaas Kende has been praised for his poetic playing and honest musicality full of passion. Both as soloist and chamber musician he is a highly demanded pianist on international concert stages.
A winner of several competitions, including the EPTA, Tenuto and Vriendenkrans Concertgebouw Amsterdam competitions, his successful participation at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels (2007) was followed by concerts in most European countries and an American debut (2009) with the 1st piano concerto of Brahms. 2015 marked his solo debut in Mozambique and South Africa; followed by debuts in USA and Canada. In 2018 he made his Chinese debut with an extensive recital tour.
Nikolaas studied in Antwerp with his parents, Heidi Hendrickx and Levente Kende, in Amsterdam with Jan Wijn and in Munich and Fiesole with Elisso Virsaladze. In addition he studied with such artists as Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu. In 2015, Nikolaas was appointed professor of piano at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. He has given masterclasses in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Texas, California and China.
Estefania Ramirez began working as a dancer at 17 and debuted at the Royal Albert Hall, London, England. She toured nationally with Pablo Rodarte’s Dance España as principal dancer. In the U.S. and Canada she also toured with Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco on PBS’s Evening at the Pops, as well as events in Santa Fe with artists such as Carol Burnett, Lauren
Bacall and Tim Curry. She relocated to Spain in 1997 where she studied extensively with many of the grand maestros such as Mario Maya, Jose Galvan and Javier Cruz. She worked as a dance professor for the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Education, creating curriculum for Spanish public schools.
In May of 2018, Ms. Ramirez was presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY debuting “Mujeres Valientes” Dance Drama choreographed by flamenco icon Belen Maya. Along with legendary figures like Maria Benitez and La Tania, Estefania is one of the only American born flamenco dancers recognized for her establishment for 13 consecutive years as an artist and dance educator in Spain within the flamenco profession. She was recently presented as leading figure of flamenco dance soloists at Women in Dance International Dance Conference at Drexel University.
Ms. Ramirez is also Co-Director of the Entreflamenco Company, a nonprofit organization and dance company with cultural and educational purposes. It has traveled throughout the Iberian peninsula presenting at the Palau de la Musica de Barcelona, Festival de Verano de la Communidad de Madrid and Ciclos Culturales de Alcala de Henares. The company then traveled throughout the U.S. and Central America in Houston, San Antonio, Santa Barbara, and Panama. Entreflamenco now operates nearly 100 performances per year at EL FLAMENCO DE SANTA FE with four distinct performance seasons, while creating a new generation of youth dancers for the future of flamenco in Santa Fe.
“Completely spellbinding not just in technical matters but in stylistic sensibility and musical characterisation as well” – The Gramophone
One of the leading Belgian violinists, Jolente De Maeyer is recognized as an exceptionally gifted artist, reflected in the numerous awards and effusive reviews she has received for both her live performances and recordings.
Prizewinner of several international competitions in Portugal (Cardona Competition), Russia (Liana Issakadze Competition) and London (Benjamin Britten Competition), the international career of Jolente started with a successful participation at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. Performances with all major Belgian orchestras and concert tours in Europe and America was followed by an extensive tour in South Africa and North America in 2018
performing amongst others at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Chicago. Her recordings include concerti by Saint-Saens and Vieuxtemps with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège with Christian Arming, awarded an ‘Editors Choice’ from Diapason, and the CD ‘Kreutzer sonata’ with duo partner Nikolaas Kende, awarded a ‘Gold Label’ from Klassiek Centraal.
After an invitation from Yehudi Menuhin when she was 14 years old, Jolente studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School near London. She continued her studies in London, Berlin and Waterloo where she graduated in the class of Augustin Dumay in 2013. Since 2018, Jolente is professor violin at the Conservatory of Tilburg, the Netherlands and has given masterclasses in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Texas and California.
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. Suhail works in Institutional Advancement for Musical Bridges Around the World, a non-profit performing arts company charged to unite, educate and inspire through culturally diverse visual and performing arts. 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 Class XL 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. Suhail was named 40 Under 40 by the Business Journal in 2020. He leads Yoga privately and at Yoga in Motion while serving on the Advisory Council of International Yoga Day – a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. A collection of Suhail’s photographs from seven continents was shown at PechaKucha Volume 5.
A recipient of Kennedy Center’s Human Spirit Award, as well as one of Musical America’s Top 30 Influencers in the nation and Detroit Crain’s 40 Under 40, Afa Sadykhly Dworkin is a musical thought leader and cross-sector strategist driving national programming that promotes diversity in classical music. She currently serves as President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization, the nation’s leading organization transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. In this role, she oversees all fundraising, strategic and artistic initiatives through which Sphinx expands access to classical music education and supports a national roster of distinguished musicians of color, annually reaching 10,000 through programming and 2 million live/broadcast audiences. Ms. Dworkin has expanded both the organization’s international partner network to 50+ foundations/leading enterprises and their national artistic network to 60+ symphonies. The strength of her leadership is informed by her musical training, 25+ years of
experience, as well as international corporate experience as a trilingual interpreter and Executive Assistant to the President of ARCO, The International Oil and Gas Company in Azerbaijan.
Ms. Dworkin has delivered ongoing thought leadership through speaking at the International Arts & Ideas Festival, Independent Sector, Grantmakers in the Arts, and more. She currently serves as lecturer at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance and adjunct faculty at Roosevelt University’s Master’s in Arts Administration.
Born in Moscow and raised in Azerbaijan, Ms. Dworkin’s music training began at the prestigious Azerbaijan National Conservatory. She subsequently joined the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra as an entering freshman at the University of Michigan, then earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Violin Performance with High Honors. Her career as a performer has taken her to Russia, Switzerland, Austria, and the U.S. She makes her home in Michigan with husband Aaron Dworkin (an internationally renowned leader in cultural entrepreneurship).
Sunil Iyengar directs the Office of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. Under his leadership, the office has produced dozens of research reports, hosted periodic research events and webinars, led strategic plan development for the agency, and established research and data partnerships with the U.S Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. His office also conducts program evaluations and performance measurement for the Arts Endowment. Working with his team, Iyengar has created and pursued a long-term research agenda (based partly on an arts “system map” his office helped to design), founded a national data repository for the arts, and launched two awards programs for arts researchers, including the NEA Research Labs initiative. He chairs a federal Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development. For nearly a decade, he has contributed a monthly research post (titled “Taking Note”) to the agency’s official blog.
Iyengar and his team have collaborated with organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Sciences, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore the arts in relation to such topics as health and well-being, economic development, and STEM and medicine. His office provides research consultative support to Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. Most recently, he has led a research funding partnership with NIH as part of Sound Health, an initiative of the Kennedy Center and NIH in association with the Arts Endowment.
Prior to joining the agency as research director, Iyengar worked as a reporter, managing editor, and senior editor for a host of news publications covering the biomedical research, medical
device, and pharmaceutical industries. He writes poems, book reviews, and literary essays. Iyengar has a BA in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
German conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing has been Music Director of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra since 2010. He concluded his tenure at the end of the 2019-20 season, after which he became Music Director Emeritus. In the 2019-20 season, Lang-Lessing debuted with the Omaha Symphony and Sinfonieorchester Liechtenstein, and returned to the Korean National Opera conducting The Tales of Hoffmann and Brevard Music Festival conducting Fidelio. Highlights of the 2018-19 season included Lang-Lessing debuts with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec and Odense Symfoniorkester and return engagements with the Korean National Opera, Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock, Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy, and Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen.
Lang-Lessing was Chief Conductor of the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy and Artistic Director of the Nancy Opera, which under his direction was promoted to Opéra National de Lorraine. From 2004 to 2011, Mr. Lang-Lessing was Music Director of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and built a comprehensive, award-winning Classical and Romantic discography. He appears regularly as guest conductor with leading French, North American, and European orchestras including those of Bordeaux, Toulouse, Vancouver, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Copenhagen, Gran Canaria, Malaga, and Palermo.
Lang-Lessing began his career at the Hamburg State Opera, receiving the Ferenc Fricsay Award at age 24. Legendary stage director/opera manager Götz Friedrich then engaged him as Resident Conductor at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Lang-Lessing now appears with leading opera companies of the world with a wide repertoire of seventy-five works ranging from Baroque to contemporary opera. Maestro Lang-Lessing notable recordings include the Philharmonia Orchestra for Renée Fleming’s Guilty Pleasures album (Decca), the complete symphonies of Mendelssohn, Bartholdy and Schumann with the Tasmanian Symphony, the works of Joseph-Guy Ropartz with the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy, and more. Lang-Lessing has also been at the forefront of educational programming for classical music with a younger audience, an area in which he has shown great passion and commitment with orchestras throughout the world.
Oliver Rajamani performs innovative soul stirring original music. Rajamani has created a sound of his own with the historic threads of Indian/Gypsy folk, Romani and Texas cultures and music while bringing recognition to the historical Indian origins of the Romani people.
An Austin, Texas World Music award winner, a nominee of the 2008 US Artist Award and the 2014 nominee of the prestigious German world music award in the European Charts, Oliver Rajamani has toured internationally and has recorded and performed with poets and artists wide-ranging in style including Jeronimo Maya, Gypsy Kings, and Willie Nelson.
Rajamani’s unique musical sound and original compositions are drawn from the spiritual and Gypsy/folk chants of India and the elegant Western orchestral/folk traditions of Europe and the Lone Star State of Texas.
Mark Cheikhet, violinist, is famous for his “golden tone” on romantic violin. Graduate of a Doctoral degree from Moscow Conservatory, Mark has built a unique niche for his talents in both worlds of performing and visual arts. A frequent guest of Musical Bridges Around the World, Mark has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Russia, Germany, France, Mexico and the United States. Among his recent performances are the Festival in Bressia Italy, Festival of the Russian Art in Marseille, and Festival “Oldenburg Promenade” in Germany. Currently residing in Moscow, Mark is known for multimedia performances that include exhibitions and their musical interpretations. “ …his warm and beautiful sound transforms the listener to another world. … Mark’s clarity of musical thought and virtuosity are truly remarkable. … ” (Brescia Oggi)
The music, dance, and song ensemble Barynya is a world renowned group that enjoys exalting stature as the premier Russian folk ensemble outside of Russia. Barynya presents Russian, Cossack, Ukrainian, Jewish and Gypsy Roma traditional dancing, music, songs, and virtuoso performances on instruments including the balalaika, garmoshka (Russian folk button accordion) and balalaika contrabass. Barynya has been invited to perform at some of the most prestigious cultural venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall, the National Constitution Center (Philadelphia), the Smithsonian Institute of America, the United Nations (New York), and the Russian Embassy.
Chen Shasha is a member of Erhu Branch, Chinese Musicians Association, the China Nationalities Orchestra Society, and the Wuxi Nationalities Orchestra Society
She is a Graduate from Central Conservatory of Music, and has performed in multiple concerts worldwide, including: Erhu Concert initiated by Mr. Deng Jiandong (Erhu master) in 2013, Spring Festival Concert in Hamilton, New Zealand in 2016, and the opening Gala of San Antonio’s 300 Anniversary Celebration in 2018.
Her solo piece Spring in Meili was awarded the Magnolia Golden by Xinwu District in 2019, the Golden Award in Wuxi 5th, and the Qunfang Award in 2020.
Beverly Houston is an International Recording & Performing Artist who received the San Antonio People’s Choice Award as Top R&B Artist. She has eight San Antonio Current Music Awards for Best Female Vocalist, and a large display of other awards and recognition plaques. The Jazz Market and San Antonio Fans selected Houston as 2013 Jazzy Fiesta Queen San Antonio. In June 2020, Houston performed for WellMed, an international live musical broadcast.
Houston delivers the National Anthem at NBA games, U.S. open swim championship and at other events. She opened the 2019 Fiesta San Antonio with her rendition of the National Anthem.
Houston performed around the country with national stars as Kirk Whalum, BB King, Bobby Bland, Etta James, ZZ Hill, John Lee Hooker, the Temptations, Chicago, the Coasters, Barbara Lynn, Philip Bailey of Earth Wind & Fire, Midnight Star, Commodores and others.
Houston travelled to Russia on a 19-day jazz tour. Houston and Russian-born pianist Valeri Grohovski performed at 9 major cities. She performed in Lithuania and made a stop-over in Prague, Czech Republic and Paris, France. Houston also performed in the Dominican Republic at the luxurious NOW Larimar Punta Cana Resort, and in Jamaica & Cancun; and in 2019 on the Carnival Cruiseline.
Houston co-hosted with Motion Picture Hollywood Star John Schneider in a television program, “Gimme the Mike,” a spin-off from American Idol. She sat as anchor DJ on radio and made appearances on numerous television shows around the word.
Under record label, HotLine Records, Houston produced several CD projects.
At the LaPrensa Foundation 11th Annual Salute to Outstanding Women in Action Awards Ball, Houston received the Entertainer of the Year Award. In 1999, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus presented her with the Outstanding Texan Award. In 2004, Houston was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame; and later served on the Board of Directors. In 2008, Houston was nominated for Induction into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the 2012 Class in Blackbook Directory Yearbook along with others who made exceptional contributions to the community.
“Vico is one of the best representatives of the Mexican jazz and as a bassist he is on top of the list” Antonio Malacara, La Jornada Newspaper.
Bassist and composer Vico Diaz – is accepted as one of the finest of his generation, has earned renown as a musician with a individual sound and a very unique way to create the most original contemporary Mexican Folk music. Vico has played as a headliner in concerts at major jazz festivals in different countries, in 2014 he released his acclaimed debut album “Salmon” set with Vico’s original compositions, the bassist also records and tours with the prestigious Tom Kessler Trio. Vico is also the leader of “Toktli” is a multicultural band that aims to rescue the Mexican folk music and bring in to the cities for recognition and valuation, adding his knowledge and love for jazz. Vico says “My approach to this band has been to create new traditional folk tunes with a sophisticated taste of jazz, stay lyrical and true, to balance freedom with written music”.
Born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Vico began performing in public in 2000 at age of 17, playing with a famous Mexican rock band named Rostros Ocultos traveling around the country as well as giving concerts in the United States and appeared on television early on in 2004. He won a scholarship to attend the world-famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, playing during his first semester with musicians such as Egui Castrillo Orchestra and the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra. After he graduated he returned to Mexico City to become the first call bassist and played with the great Mexican alternative folk band “Ampersan&” with whom he has recorded two albums “La flor de la Biznaga” (2008) and “Autoreverse” (2013).
Growing up in Mexico, Vico says “We didn’t really have any real good jazz scene that we could look up to; I learned jazz mostly from the records. I met the great bassist Agustin Bernal who pushed me and taught me, and then I although I clearly became a professional jazz musician here in Mexico there was something else that was important to my musical development: this rich sense of lyricism in older Mexican music. Most of that music is vocal with traditional instruments from Europe but developed in Mexico and with the influence of African rhythms”.
Vico’s discography as a leader includes: Salmon (Fall 2013) with Klaas Blaijon, Blair Latham, Roberto Verastegui, Toktli (Fall 2014) Fogumi(2009) with Tom Kessler and Giovanni Figueroa. As a sideman, Vico has recorded over 15 albums such as “Lidinum”of Tom Kessler with international great Octet aside the Chilean drummer Gabriel Puentes, Argentinian pianist Nicolas Santella, Cuban trumpeter Alex Guardiola, U.S trombonist Brian Allen and New Zealander saxophonist Blair Latham.
Vico is a multi-cultural jazz musician, among whose ancestors goes from Ray Brown, Thelonius Monk to Ron Carter, through Los Vega , Chuchumbe and the Mariachi Vargas, the best singers, improvisers and players of “ El Son ”(traditional Mexican Music originally from Veracruz and Jalisco,Mexico).
Tomoko Sonoda was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Kumamoto City at the age of twenty-six. Her father was a classical music critic and mother a teacher, and at the age of four, she began her classical piano studies. Sonoda started her journey into jazz piano at Waseda University and worked for five years as a music instructor at a local mission college in Kumamoto city. In 1999, she formed her own 10-piece band and provided many song arrangements up until 2005. As a pianist, she has performed continuously at <street ART-PREX Kumamoto Jazz open>, a big jazz festival in Kumamoto City. She currently works as a jazz piano teacher at a local vocational school and performs throughout Japan with various artists.
Suzy Eises is a saxophonist, composer, and educator who hails from the diamond mining town of Oranjemund. She has opened for popular international acts Mi Casa and Joss Stone and has shared the stage with musicians such as Jimmy Dludlu, Ringo Madlingozi and Hugh Masekela.
Suzy attended a one-year course at the London College of Creative Media in England and attended two years of college studying music at Brigham Young University-Idaho in the United States of America. Suzy has obtained a Higher National Certificate of Merit in Music Performance from the London College of Creative Media and an Advanced Music Diploma of Distinction from Shaw Academy, UK.
Suzy’s most prominent performances include performing at the 2019 Durban Jazz Festival in South Africa, performing a Global Fusion concert in Dubai, January 2020 and performing at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Namibian Annual Music Awards. Suzy also performed at Windhoek’s annual jazz festivals in 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Suzy has worked with and collaborated with popular disc jockey DJ Maphorisa on her album. She has appeared in a music video for a collaboration song with Gazza which appears regularly on international television channel, Trace Africa TV and has reached more than 500 000 YouTube views. She is also a favourite performer for the President and First Lady of Namibia. Suzy has appeared on the BBC News television and social media networks sharing her story and showcasing her work.
Suzy regularly performs at corporate and public events all over Namibia. In Feb 2018, Suzy represented Namibia and performed at the International Music Festival organized by the Musical Bridges Around the World (MBAW) organisation in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Suzy has also represented Namibia at the Africa Day celebrations in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 25 May 2018 and at Le Wine Chambre in Johannesburg, South Africa in August 2018. Her debut self-titled album was released November, 2017. This earned her six nominations at the 2018 Namibian Annual Music Awards, and she went on to receive the coveted Best Album of the Year and Best Newcomer Awards. In 2019, Suzy studied Jazz at the London College of Creative Media and recorded a piece of music with BAFTA award-winning, Oscar- nominated composer George Fenton at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London where Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and the legendary Beatles have recorded – in May she became the first Namibian musician to record at the legendary studios. Suzy leads her own band and teaches saxophone privately.
Park graduated from New School University and graduate school of New York University. He worked with a lot of the legends in Jazz, such as Jim Snidero, Raggie Workman, Junior Mance, George Garzone and more. He was a musical director and performer for New York Town Hall Concert, UN Headquarter Concert, Yool Sung, Jeong International Music Festival and 14th and 15th Korea-US cultural festival. Currently, he serves as a dean of the musical department of Honam Theological University and Seminary.
Grammy-nominated saxophonist Shlomi Cohen, born in Tel Aviv, Israel, has had a multicultural musical education, based in part on his surroundings both in Tel Aviv and New York City, and also from his Moroccan and Yemeni heritage.
This mix of styles in his sound has made him a much sought-after saxophonist.
Shlomi is based in New York City and regularly collaborates with various musical projects around the city and beyond.
Prasanna is the world’s leading performer of Indian Carnatic music on the guitar, besides being an internationally acclaimed Jazz and Rock guitarist and Composer. He has recorded 16 albums as a leader and over 60 albums as a collaborator. An acclaimed film composer, Prasanna has composed the music for the Academy Award winning film ‘Smile Pinki’, Indian National Award-winning film ‘Vazhakku Enn 18/9’ and many others. An entrepreneurial visionary, Prasanna co-founded the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India, India’s first college of Contemporary music and was the President of the College for 5 years. He has performed with luminaries such as Joe Lovano, A.R. Rahman, Jordan Rudess, Illayaraja, Esperanza Spalding, Vijay Iyer and others. A highly respected educator, Prasanna has taught such accomplished musicians as Dweezil Zappa, Dave Fiuczynski, Gustavo Assis Brasil etc and has mentored a number of young talented prodigies around the world.
Matthieu was born in Brussels in 1979. After a few years in San Francisco, his family settled in Montreal 1989. After two years at McGill University, Matthieu put his jazz studies on hold for a year, in order to join and tour with La Chango Family across Canada and throughout Europe. He completed his Bachelor degree in Jazz Trombone at the University of Montreal. Since then he has been very much in demand as a freelancer, in the studios, tv shows and concerts. He is a regular guest musician on TV Shows The Voice, Belle et Bum, Le Choc des Générations to name a few. His collaborations have included artists such as: Cee Lo Green, Pink Martini, Angelik Kidjo, Bonobo, Chris Botti, Colin James, Fred Pellerin, Serge Fiori, Claude Dubois, Michel Fugain, Marc Hervieux, Daniel Lavoie, Brigitte Boisjoli and many more. He is also a member of Gregory Charles’s band and part of Papagroove.
Born in Mexico City and currently based out of New York City, Magos Herrera is a dazzling jazz singer-songwriter, producer, and educator. Magos is regarded as one of the most expressive, beautiful voices and most active vocalists in the contemporary Latin American jazz scene. She is best known for her eloquent vocal improvisation and her singular bold style, which embraces elements of contemporary jazz with Latin American melodies and rhythms singing in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, in a style that elegantly blends and surpasses language boundaries. She has recorded six solo albums, has worked on joint collaborations for two more albums with producer Javier Limón in addition to having participated as a guest artist of several recordings and albums. An accomplished artist, Magos has performed in a variety of leading international cultural venues such as Lincoln Center in NYC, Kennedy Center in DC, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Union Chapel in London, Duc des Lombardes in Paris, Kamani Auditorium in Delhi, Palau de la Musica in Valencia, and has been part of the line-up of some of the most memorable jazz festivals around the world including Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Festival Internacional Cervantino, to mention a few. Throughout her career, Magos has garnered important awards and recognitions, including a Grammy short-list nomination in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category for her album Distancia (2009), and is the only female artist to have received the Berklee College of Music’s Master of Latin Music Award. She is well known for championing women’s causes and currently serves as spokesperson for UN Women, and has contributed to important campaigns including UNITE to end violence against women and He For She, as a promoter of gender equality. She serves as an artistic advisor of the “National Sawdust”.
Elemotho is the only Namibian musician to win the RFI-France 24 Discoveries Awards 2012, among a list of more than 500 African, Indian and Pacific artists. This hard working artist has taken his new sound of the Kalahari everywhere from Accra, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Antananarivo, Khartoum, Cotonou to name some of the cities Elemotho has crazed with his powerful and poetic presence. In 2013, his song !Kgalanamib was chosen as the theme song for Namibia’s Adventure Tourism Summit. The year 2014 found Elemotho headlining Charlie Guillet Stage at WOMAD UK, making a crowd of more than 12,000 people jive to his tunes. In 2015, Elemotho was a Headliner to the Cape Town World Music Festival, as well as represented Namibia during the 25 Independence Celebrations in London, UK. In 2016 this artist headlined the South Africa’s Kgalagadi Jazz Festival. Elemotho also embarked into a two months Tour across Germany with his long-time collaborator Samuel Batola under the “Afro-acoustic Experience”, where they, performing at Festivals such as Ke Nako Afrika Festival in Berlin and Osnabrueck Afrika Festival. Furthermore, 2016 found Elemotho forming part of a Theatre Project between Germany and Namibia (The Oshi-Deutsch), as musical composer and arranger. In May 2016, two songs of Elemotho (La vida and Neo) where used by Hollywood in the Netflix series “Frankie and Grace” Season 2. In September 2016, Elemotho became a musical Ambassador for Save the Rhino Trust Namibia, composing and recording a song for them, as part of the Stand Together campaign. Later in the year, he was awarded with the “Namibian Tourism Personality of the Year” by the Tourism Industry in Namibia, for the work done in and outside the country. Early in 2017 Elemotho was recognised by the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMA’s) with an award of “Life-time Achievement”. In March, Elemotho’s First Single “Black Man” video received the award of Best Music Video in the Namibia Film and Theatre Awards. In May 2017, Elemotho launched his fourth album “Beautiful World” distributed worldwide by the record company ARC Music (U.K). The Album has been sounding worldwide in Radio stations, having been aired already globally from France, U.K, Spain, Germany, Holland, Austria, Belgium, USA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hong-Kong to Australia, and many more. Elemotho has already presented the Album in Spain (Rototom Sunsplash Festival), Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia. In December 2017, “Beautiful World” was selected as TOP 10 under the Wiriko and “Africa no es un pais” selection for best African Albums 2017 (Spain). The album scooped the award at the U.K One World Music as Best World-Global Fusion Music Album for 2017. In May 2018, Elemotho headlined WOMAD Caceres (Spain) as well as the well-known Afro-Pfingsten World Music Festival in Winterhur, Switzerland.
Beginning studying piano at five and classical trumpet at eight, Huang later earned prizes in an assortment of competitions. In National Taipei University of the Arts, Huang received the education of classical music and developed an interest in Jazz in the meantime. Formerly a lead trumpet player in a good many jazz orchestras in Taiwan, Huang is now a professional trumpet player, composer and arranger for brass session as well as the music director to Musicworkers Studio.
Benito is a much admired Tenerife-born composer and timple player thanks to his work on promoting and reinstating the traditional musical instrument known as the timple. His musical work has been acclaimed internationally, leading him to perform with the Tenerife Symphonic Orchestra, the Classical Orchestra of La Laguna and the Symphonic Orchestra of Córdoba. Some of his achievements include encouraging the use of the timple in symphonic, rock and jazz pieces.
Brandon Guerra is a multi-instrumentalist from San Antonio, Texas, who holds a degree in Jazz Performance from Texas State University.
Since beginning his musical studies via piano at age six and drumset at age ten, Brandon has become an active drumset artist and educator, performing and recording with various groups in south Texas, The United States, and abroad. Brandon is currently the house drummer at the popular new jazz club, Jazz TX, located in the historic Pearl Brewery in San Antonio, TX. He can be found playing every week with a variety of musicians in the south Texas area, usually playing over 250 performances a year. Brandon has also recently been composing original music for dance companies around south Texas including: ARCOS Dance, Blipswitch, Ballet Conservatory of South Texas, and McBride Dance.
Brandon proudly endorses Vic Firth drumsticks and Canopus drums.
Arturo found his way to music at the age of 14 thanks to the formation of the Municipal Band of San Pedro Garza García. He received an Honorable Mention in the basic cycle at the Higher School of Music and Dance of the City of Monterrey, and finished his Bachelor of Jazz at the Higher School of Music of the INBA Mexico City.
Among the masters with whom he has studied are: Jesús Delgado, Francisco Téllez, Tobías Delius, Bob Hoit, Robert Dick, Paul Cheneour, and Ole Mathisen – among others. He has been a member of various ensembles such as La Banda Municipal de Monterrey (1980), Ensamble Barroco by Jesús Delgado (1981), Ensamble Jazz Pop by Enrique Valadez, Brass Explosión Big Band (1985), Four Winds 4th. Mexican Jazz Quartet (1986), Monterrey Jazz 4 (1990), Amaretto (1991), Big Band Monterrey (2000), Duet Ávila Liceaga (Guitar and Flute)(2002), Los Diez Pianos (2005), 4th of Saxophones Monterrey 400, Saxophone Quartet Kumi Tachi, Arturo Ávila Jazz Quartet (2006), 40 West Jazz Quartet (2007), and Arturo Ávila and Piedra de las Iguanas (2008).
In 2020, UFIM awarded Arturo the Santa Cecilia Medal for the Best Solo Instrumentalist. He has recorded for innumerable national and foreign groups and artists, and was recently invited to represent the State of Nuevo León in the 1st National Jazz Festival in Mexico City.
He is currently Director of the Municipal Orchestra of Santa Catarina, La Danzonera Sierra Madre, Quarteto de Saxofones Nimbus and Monterrey Dixieland Jazz Band.
Arturo has also taught in the past at Escuela Superior de Música y Danza (Monterrey NL) as assistant to Maestro Jesús Delgado, Universidad de Montémorelos, FORMUS Educational and Musical Training AC, ECFA (Christian School of Artistic Training), Birdland (Academy of Music), Instituto Americano, Mike Percussion (Academy), Leal Isida (Academy), as well as private classes for saxophone, flute, jazz and improvisation.
Arturo Ávila has also produced four major musical productions throughout his career: Arriving, My Favorite Pieces Vol. 1, Brown Eyes, and Arturo Ávila and Piedra de las Iguanas (live DVD).
Anke is a saxophonist, flutist, composer, music instructor/bandcoach. With percussionist Tom Nicholas, she formed the Jazzquartette Black & White Cooperation, composing most of the pieces. This jazz band made its mark in the jazz scene. Their 3 CDs consist exclusively of original compositions. Schimpf also has been a part of the following bands: “Art of Jazztainment” (Jazz/Soul/Pop/Cover), “Rhein Main Jazz Orchestra” (Big Band), saxophone quartet “Saxsofort”, the “Sister City Jazz Ensemble” in San Antonio, TX, “Jazz & the Cities” in Sister City Graz, Austria, and leader of “Outline”, a local jazz initiative of Darmstadt.
In 2004, she co founded music production company Christine Musics GbR. Anke also works as a teacher for saxophone and flute, as well as coaching band and delivering masterclass workshops. She has also had the opportunity to be a jury member on the Darmstadt Music Awards from 2016 to 2019.
Aaron is a pianist, composer, educator, and radio personality based in San Antonio, Texas. Prado received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano performance at the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music in 2014. Prior, Prado attended Columbia University for undergraduate study and New York University for a Master’s Degree. From 2003-2009, Prado was Music Director at Trinity University’s jazz radio station – KRTU 91.7FM – where he is currently the host of “Aaron Prado Presents” – heard Sundays 2:00-4:00 p.m. In 2011, Prado debuted his “San Antonio Jazz Suite” – a large-scale composition scored for big band, string quartet, and narration that tells the story of San Antonio. In 2015, Prado published a book of transcriptions of solo recordings by jazz pianist Bill Evans (published by Hal Leonard). In 2018, Prado received a grant from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio to compose “The Hero’s Journey” – the piece premiered at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico. In 2019, Prado released two albums: a sextet album “Live at Jazz, TX” and a trio album of original music called “And Now…” Prado teaches and is President of the Faculty Senate at Northwest Vista College.
The piece “Sister Cities” was commissioned by Musical Bridges Around the World and premiered in February 2018 during the International Music Festival. Featuring musicians from Sister Cities across the globe, the piece celebrates the spirit of collaboration, cultural exchange, and dialogue championed by the Sister Cities organization. Utilizing elements common to countless cultures, including chant, the pentatonic scale, juxtaposition of triple and duple meters, and counterpoint, the piece features the musicians layering individual statements as well as unison exclamations. Collective improvisation represents exchange of ideas, and the perpetually ascending harmony of the climax suggests the heights to which we aspire as an international community. My deepest gratitude to the musicians for bringing this piece to life on the stage and now virtually as an affirmation of the power of music to strengthen connections in the face of incredible suffering, upheaval, and turmoil.