Season 20
July 5-17, 2016

San Antonio

New Braunfels






Media & PR

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© 2015, Cactus Pear Music Festival

Connections…across time and space. That’s what our season was all about. First there are the connections that we, as musicians, make with the composers and their work. We learn the notes, study the scores, listen to recordings and even record ourselves to better prepare to connect with our chamber music colleagues. Then there are the connections made on stage between the Artists in practice and rehearsal. We discuss how to balance the group, what mood to convey, where the climaxes are, what our pacing should be. Exploring the composer’s intentions is how we connect with that celebrated musician from the past. But best of all, are the magical connections that happen in concerts when the lights dim, the audience falls silent, and all that is left is pure expressive music. That is when we connect with you, the audience. We feel your energy flowing back to us on stage, and we know we have connected with you across time and space. Thank you for your presence here and for completing that connection.


Sadly, some connections have been broken since last year’s festival, as our community lost three cherished friends. Coker Methodist’s Jaime Vera was loved by all and is so dearly missed. Jaime donated his time and expertise during Cactus Pear—manning the lights, working the sound system, taking concert video, and even pitching in with stage managing for many years. He left us shockingly prematurely this past March. Another friend of CPMF, the San Antonio Symphony, and many other classical groups in town, Michael Wiederhold heard his last earthly notes on January 6. Mike valiantly battled Parkinson’s disease near the end of his life, but it didn’t stop him from attending every classical concert that his wife Penny could bring him to. After concerts, he always made a point to tell me which pieces and performers he enjoyed hearing the most. I will miss those conversations.


Along with Mike, San Antonio lost another great champion of classical music in Ruth Jean Gurwitz. Besides her lifetime support of the Symphony, Chamber Music Society, CPMF and Tuesday Musical Club, she was a founding member of the SA International Piano Competition and its president for many years. I had shopped Southern Music (the sheet music business that she and her husband Arthur had built for over 75 years) long before I moved to San Antonio in 1994. But it’s an even more personal connection that I have with Ruth Jean that I reflect upon today. It was Ruth Jean Gurwitz and her friend Virginia Kane who, as matchmaking Yentas, introduced me to the man who six months later introduced me to the man who six months later would ask me to marry him. Gary Albright and I connected with one another after my Lark Ascending performance with the SAS in 1995, founded Cactus Pear Music Festival together a year later, and started our family in 1999. We now have two beautiful teenage daughters in high school. That was certainly a divine connection! Thank you, RJ.


In the music world, the connections that we make with our teachers, and then our students are also very powerful. CPMF’s Young Artist Program will be 13 years old when we celebrate our 20th anniversary next season in 2016. I thought that it was time to connect with some of our YAP Alumnae and see how they were doing out in the “real” music world. I was so impressed by some of their artistic accomplishments that I invited four of them to share the stage with us next season. Pianists Ellen Pavliska (YAP 2011) and Wayne Ching (YAP 2009), clarinetist Sam Almaguer (YAP 2008) and violinist Colin Sorgi (YAP 2005 who, yes, is the talented son of our YAP Education Director Craig Sorgi!) have each been invited to be a Festival Artist next season. So, plan to be back here in 2016 so that you can hear the connections across generations! It will be thrilling for all of us.


In the meantime, if you want to slack your thirst for great chamber music, take a look at our Soirée Specials and our VIP Patron card. That card entitles you to THREE intimate house concerts PLUS gourmet food and convivial company. Click here for more information and an easy online way to make your purchase.


Thank you for making our 19th Season a successful one.

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

and Creative Development. All CPMF venues are ADA compliant.

Soirée VIP Cards

are available to
purchase through

this link. Hurry, there
are only 80 seats
total for this set of
3 incredible house concerts.

Making the Connections: through 19 Seasons