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Connecting World Cultures Through 'Musical Bridges' At San Antonio Festival

Musical Bridges Around the World begins its annual music festival Saturday.

Founder and Musical Director Anya Grokhovski says the festival, in its fifth year, brings performers from all over the world to play in the Alamo City.

"Music is a peacemaking language," she said.

The international music festival is at the Empire Theater, and features jazz piano, violin music and members of the San Antonio Symphony. The event consists of seven free concerts in 10 nights.

The underlying theme of Musical Bridges Around the World, Grokhovski said, is the power in music that transcends borders and language to underscore our common humanity. On Feb. 3 musicians from 12 different countries will perform on the same stage.

“We're inviting one jazz artist from each of San Antonio's Sister and Friendship Cities," Grokhovski said.

Credit Musical Bridges Around The World
Drummer Billy Hart

While jazz is a uniquely American invention, musicians the world over now speak in that musical tongue.

"Jazz is a common language. Some of the guest artists don't speak much English, but through music they can communicate with each other and communicate with the audience,” she said.

Local musician and composer Aaron Prado has written a piece to commemorate the night, and every musician from the 12 countries will be heard from.

“Each of them will be featured in a solo piece accompanied by the rest of the group, to highlight their own culture," Grokhovski said.

From a saxophonist from Tel Aviv , to a guitarist from India, to a flutist from Germany — as well as other musicians from Japan, Namibia and Taiwan — this is truly an international event.

“That's what we do at Musical Bridges. We like to connect everything. We don't like borders. We're sort of music without borders,” Grokhovski said, laughing.

Credit Musical Bridges Around The World
Mark Cheikhet

  The concert with also be live streamed at https://musicalbridges.org/

Charline McCombs Empire Theater Concerts

  • Saturday: Founders’ Concert, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: America’s Jazz Icons: Billy Hart Quartet, 3 p.m.
  • Thursday: Tales From the Edges of Spain, 7:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 3: International Sister City Jazz Ensemble, 7:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 4: 'Barnya' Russian Folk Dance Ensemble, 3 p.m.

San Fernando Cathedral Concerts

  • Tuesday: Gems of China, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: Czech This Out!, 7:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 1: Hexameron, 7:30 p.m.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii