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The Founding of Cactus Pear


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!


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 18 seasons of extraordinary performances. It's added up to a festivalography

that includes some of the most sublime music the world has ever heard.


Take a look for yourself. It's an impressive body of work and list of masterpieces.


CPMF Festivalography

Media & PR

For high resolution images of artists, performances and

festival art, please

go to this web page

for media kit choices

    Miguel del Aguila's

Salon Buenos Aires, Op. 84



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CPMF Board Members

Jeff Glass, MD, President

Patrick Heath, Vice President

J. Paul Giolma, PhD, Treasurer

Kay Kutchins, Secretary



Ivan Becka
Henry Bemporad, JD
Maurice Kerins
Gustavo Valadez Ortiz, EdD

Paul Salazar

Alberto Serrano, MD
Sheila Swartzman, MD
Lisa Tatum, JD

Barbara Warren
Alan Weinblatt, PhD


Reneé Davis

Executive Director


Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio

Artistic Director, CPMF

Former Concertmaster

San Antonio Symphony


Gary S. Albright

Marketing & Design

Past Presidents Sheila Swartzman, MD 2005-2011
Brigitte Saidi 2001-2004
Richard Gong, MD 1997-2000

CPMF is generously supported by the City of San Antonio's Department of Culture and Creative Development

CPMF Mission

Cactus Pear Music Festival is a non-profit organization whose mission is to produce and present great chamber music for people of all ages and backgrounds throughout south Texas; to add to the body of chamber music repertoire by commissioning new works from both professional composers as well as young student composers; to significantly contribute to the music education of south Texas young people; and, to enhance the artistic life of south Texas through active collaborations with diverse arts and cultural organizations in the region.



Cactus Pear Music Festival fulfills its mission through the following core programs:

1. Cactus Pear Music Festival: the summer chamber music festival consisting of multiple weeks of      performances by Artistic Director & Violinist Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio and noted chamber music artists of national and international renown, held both in San Antonio and neighboring south Texas communities;

2. Kinder Konzerts: a children’s concert series directed toward and serving children ages 3 to 10, many of them from underserved school districts;

3. Young Peoples Concerts: free community engagement concerts presented during the summer music festival for children ages 4 to 18, including children and teens in the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio program as well as children from underserved local populations;

4. Young Artist Program: a full-scholarship program which provides festival-long intensive training fellowships and ensemble performance opportunities to talented and accomplished young student musicians from the south Texas region;

5. Young Composer Xtreme Competition: an award program meant to encourage young composers in the state of Texas to create chamber music works, to provide a prominent forum for the recognition of young talent, and to deepen public awareness and appreciation of new American chamber music.



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