Musical Bridges Around the World will present artists from around the globe – including San Antonio’s Sister Cities (Chennai, India; Kumamoto, Japan; Guadalajara and Monterrey, Mexico; Gwangju, South Korea; Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain; and Kaohsiung, Taiwan) – during the nonprofit’s 5th Annual International Music Festival that will be held at the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage San Antonio Mission sites in February 2018.
The festival will consist of seven to 10 free concerts presented at five mission complexes built in the early 18th century along a 7.7-mile stretch of the San Antonio River. These include Mission San Jose, Mission Espada and Mission San Juan Capistrano, among others. Contractors will erect portable, outdoor stages for the larger concerts, while more intimate programming will be presented in the mission sanctuaries.
“By presenting superb, international musical programming at the mission sites and by offering the programming free to the public, welcoming even the most economically vulnerable San Antonians, the festival will expand access and exposure to both international artistry and local heritage,” Anya Grokhovski, MBAW artistic director and CEO said.
The artistic director’s primary selection criteria for festival participants is artistic integrity. Second is congruence with MBAW’s mission - honoring an organizational history of producing unique, often world-premiere programming featuring new pairings of artists from an array of cultural backgrounds. Grokhovski specifically seeks out artists who are highly accomplished in western music while maintaining a sort of musical “umbilical cord,” a connection to their ethnic roots.
The unique, multi-cultural vision for these concerts, along with their artistic excellence, will draw tourists to San Antonio, while also engaging and celebrating the cultural diversity of the city’s residents, Grokhovski added. Partnership with local colleges, universities and school districts will enhance educational opportunities and expose local students to new ideas in music and art, as well as world events and global understanding.
Pairing the concerts with the historic and architectural significance of the Mission sites will enhance the sense of place and pride in South San Antonio, where they are clustered, and support San Antonio’s rise, in the estimation of the world, to the status of a true, world-class, cosmopolitan city.
As part of the celebration of the city’s Tricentennial and MBAW’s 20th anniversary year, the 5th Annual International Music Festival will address several goals of the SA2020 initiative, as well as the intention of the Tricentennial Commission to highlight San Antonio’s past while shining a spotlight on its future.