On the heels of a controversial $300,000 grant from Bexar County and another $225,000 from the commissioners court on outgoing County Judge Nelson Wolff’s last day presiding, the Classical Music Institute on Thursday announced a grant of $350,000 from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation.
The grant will arrive in 2023, as the nonprofit music organization prepares for upcoming performances of its education-focused season. The Kronkosky grant will help the CMI increase capacity and open two new positions within the organization as it continues to curate concert seasons for San Antonio, said Paul Montalvo, the organization’s artistic director.
“This Kronkosky Charitable Foundation grant is a milestone for CMI,” Montalvo said. “Our board, staff, and artists can’t thank the Kronkosky Foundation enough for their generosity and trust. The impact of this gift will be felt for years to come.”
Montalvo said the grant will solidify and establish partnership with resident companies to expand the CMI’s reach to populations who haven’t been exposed to classical music. The two new positions haven’t been determined, but they would start in early-to-mid February, Montalvo said.
As part of expanding the summer education program, the CMI plans on hiring additional faculty for the summer.
“We’re being fiscally responsible with what funding we have and that we’re getting, so we just have to be careful to use these positions very strategically,” Montalvo said.
The CMI’s latest grant puts the organization on a path toward full funding as it finishes its first quarter.
“Our budget is 1.6 million,” Montalvo said. “And we’re 85% funded.”
The October Bexar County grant was intended to support CMI’s proposal to take over orchestra duties for fellow Tobin Center for the Performing Arts resident companies Opera San Antonio and Ballet San Antonio, replacing the San Antonio Symphony, which was dissolved in June.
The move caused consternation among the San Antonio Philharmonic and its labor union, resulting in a lawsuit that was partially resolved when CMI agreed to pay higher wages to its contracted musicians and contribute to the pension fund of the American Federation of Musicians.
J. Tullos Wells, the Kronkosky Foundation’s managing director, was among the three-member Symphonic Music for San Antonio board that once vied to take over management of the San Antonio Symphony. The board dissolved during contentious negotiations citing pension debt owed to the union, sparing the orchestra from potential cuts to its full-time roster of musicians.
The Classical Music Institute is the process of reshaping its staff: On Nov. 29, the organization relieved former executive director Donald Mason from his duties because the CMI had eliminated the executive director position entirely. Montalvo said his own position will shift into a new title and role within the next two months.
“We won’t have an executive director. The position was eliminated, so we’re going a different route,” Montalvo said, adding that doesn’t mean the CMI won’t have an executive director in the future.
CMI’s next concert will be March 31 in the Tobin Center’s Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater, featuring Opera San Antonio in its upcoming production of Astor Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires on Feb. 10 and 11.