Cultural arts nonprofit Musical Bridges Around the World started after Russian-born pianist Anya Grokhovski moved to San Antonio with her young family in 1991. 

Her husband accepted a professorship at UTSA, and Grokhovski, having earned a doctorate degree in piano performance and pedagogy from the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, was hired as a staff accompanist at the university shortly after.

“We worked at the music department of the University of Texas San Antonio and often invited our former professors, musicians and friends to visit us,” she said. “In 1998, I decided to invite my favorite professor, Vladimir Bochkarov, from Russia to visit … and share my new home city with him.”

Grokhovski soon began inviting other international musicians to perform in what would become a series of public concerts organized by her new nonprofit, Musical Bridges Around the World

Early on, Grokhovski included visual arts in her organization’s mission to “celebrate our shared humanity” through art and culture.

“Before we had a dedicated gallery space, visual artists often were invited to exhibit at concerts, contribute to galas and other special events,” said Diana Roberts, gallery coordinator for Musical Bridges.

As the nonprofit grew, it got an office and its walls became a permanent exhibit space for painters, photographers and sculptors alike. The Art Gallery at Musical Bridges Around the World has presented over 30 exhibitions featuring some 75 artists since 2013. 

Roberts said JUBILEE: An Anniversary Exhibition celebrates the beginning of Musical Bridges’ 25th anniversary season by inviting artists who have shown their work with the organization over the years.

“Some of those artists — Susan Dunis, for example — have served on the board or become supporters in various other ways,” said Roberts. “One way or another, artists of all kinds have been woven into the fabric of our programs. The Art Gallery allows us to formalize the contributions of visual artists, with the occasional special event to showcase writers, scholars and other creative pursuits.”

Danville Chadbourne, <I>
The Coincidental Salvation of the Surrogate Night Monument</I>, 2017
Danville Chadbourne, The Coincidental Salvation of the Surrogate Night Monument, 2017 Credit: Courtesy / Musical Bridges Around the World – Conan Chadbourne

Visitors to the anniversary exhibit will see soft paintings with swirling images, blue colors against fall leaves and dramatic black-and-white portraits by artists like Tatsiana Rachytskaya, Gerald Lopez, Karen Zimmerly and Robert Michaelson.

The exhibition runs through Dec. 17 at the Art Gallery at Musical Bridges Around the World, located at 23705 Frontage Rd. The gallery is free and open to the public Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and by appointment.

Musical Bridges’ yearly concert series at the San Fernando Cathedral is free to the public and continues to showcase musical performers from around the world. The 2022-23 season of Russell Hill Rogers Musical Evenings will bring talent from Italy, Slovakia, Austria, Germany and Russia.

The season kicks off Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. with “It Ain’t Necessarily So!” a performance by Italy’s Duo Baldo. To register for free tickets, visit the Musical Bridges website.

“As we at Musical Bridges envision our next quarter century, we aim to amplify our impact on the community, sharing the world with San Antonio while uplifting, inspiring and connecting our ever-growing audiences through the arts,” said Suhail Arastu, advancement director at Musical Bridges.

And MBAW is growing right alongside San Antonio, producing 79 events in 2021-22, said Grokhovski. The events presented 21 cultures and 49 international artists and served nearly 32,000 people.

“I feel creating Musical Bridges Around the World and bringing it to this point is one of the biggest miracles of my life,” said Grokhovski.

Disclosure: Suhail Arastu is a member of the San Antonio Report’s board of community advisors.

Berit Mason is a multi-media journalist with experience reporting for WOAI 1200 AM News Radio, freelancing for Texas Public Radio in San Antonio, writing articles and taking photos for San Antonio Woman,...