Cactus Pear Music Festival was founded in 1996 by Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio, former concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony for 13 years. Stephanie's musical lineage is one of performers and pedagogues: her grandmother Isabelle Schiebler Sant'Ambrogio was a concert pianist and teacher; her grandfather Anthony Sant'Ambrogio was a violinist and violist, once a member of the St. Louis Symphony. John Sant'Ambrogio, her father, retired as Principal Cello with the St. Louis Symphony, and her sister Sara is the cellist in the award-winning Eroica Trio. Music is definitely in the family genes! [for full bio, click here!]
Looking to fill the summer void of classical music in South Texas as the San Antonio Symphony went on its 3-month hiatus and symphony musicians left for music festivals far and wide, Stephanie's brainstorm came one sultry evening on the café banks of the River Walk as she sipped a signature Zuni Grill cactus pear margarita.
¡Caramba!, she exclaimed, and a music festival was born … a festival with all the refreshing COOL and vibrancy of the color of its namesake drink.
We've already booked 21 seasons of extraordinary performances and are ready for our 22nd. It's added up to a festivalography that includes some of the most sublime music the world has ever heard.
Without the efforts and energy of our board members throughout the years, Cactus Pear Music Festival would not have achieved the successes, renown and audiences it has garnered for over two decades. We thank all who have served and those who currently guide this musical ship. They are:
Sheila Swartzman, MD
J. Paul Giolma, PhD
Henry Bemporad, JD
Jeff Glass, MD
Gustavo Valadez Ortiz, EdD
Alberto Serrano, MD
Lisa Tatum, JD
Gary S. Albright
Marketing & Design
Richard Gong, MD; 1997-2000
Brigitte Saidi, 2001-2004
Sheila Swartzman, MD; 2005-2011
Jeff Glass, MD; 2012-2017