On with the show

Arts San Antonio's 2018-19 season features piano powerhouses and dazzling dancers

Arts San Antonio's 2018-19 season features piano powerhouses

Ballet Folklorico de Mexico
A performance from the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico is a highlight of the Arts San Antonio 2018-19 season. Ballet Folklorico de Mexico

Beginning in September, Arts San Antonio will bring the world to Alamo City. On March 15, the nonprofit quietly announced the 2018-19 lineup to email subscribers. Now, they are trumpeting a killer season — including renowned artists from Mexico, South Africa, and China — to the rest of the community.

To help make the programming more accessible, Arts San Antonio has debuted a new pricing structure this year, which can put tickets in San Antonians' hands for as little as $17 a month. Director of marketing and artistic administration Jason Irle tells CultureMap that the organization is “excited that anyone from all backgrounds can become a season ticket holder.” 

The Whole Enchilada package, which includes access to all 13 scheduled performances, can now be bought on a payment plan spread out throughout the season. Arts patrons can also select from a variety of a la carte plans, allowing the choice of any nine, seven, five, or three shows for as low as $61.

But before fans dive into the new offerings, Arts San Antonio has one more treat. To wrap up the blockbuster 2017-18 Tricentennial season, the organization is bringing 10-time Grammy Award winner Arturo Sandoval back to San Antonio for a rousing concert with his sextet on April 21. Sandoval will also be headlining several events as part of the 20th anniversary of Artsteach, ASA’s arts-education initiative.

Before his performance, Mays Family Center will host a luncheon on April 20 at the Mays Family Center at the Witte Museum featuring Sandoval as the keynote speaker. During his visit, the jazz artist will also give back to area students with two master class clinics and a special student-only concert at Trinity University’s Laurie Auditorium.

After a short break, Arts San Antonio then kicks into high gear on September 19 with an intimate performance from jazz pianist Fred Hersch at Trinity University’s Ruth Taylor Recital Hall. The multi-Grammy Award nominee is just coming off winning a recent string of awards, including being recognized as the 2016 Doris Duke Artist, 2016 Jazz Pianist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association, and the 2017 Prix Honorem de Jazz from L’Acádemie Charles Cros. (San Antonians can preview his work in a 2016 documentary The Ballad of Fred Hersch, now streaming on Vimeo.)

On September 28 and 29, the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico comes to the Lila Cockrell Theatre for two electric evenings of dance. The New Chinese Acrobats follow on October 18 with a gravity-defying show melding ancient tradition with contemporary showmanship. Rounding off the tract is the world-renowned Soweto Gospel Choir on October 25. Irle shares that the ensemble will be performing a program that covers everything from gospel and spirituals to popular music and reggae.

The November 16 visit from the Ten Tenors is also a can’t-miss, according to Irle. He says the team had a chance to see the Australian vocal group at Boerne Performing Arts, where they “blew them away.”

Other highlights of the season include several concerts for piano lovers. Fans who missed Arts San Antonio’s 2016-17 season finale will be glad to know that powerhouse family act The 5 Browns will ring in the holiday season with a special Christmas concert on December 1. 

Kenny Broberg, the 2017 Silver Medalist at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, comes to the Ruth Taylor Hall for a limited-seating performance on January 25, 2019. And on February 9, 2019, legendary jazz pianist Chucho Valdes and his trio, Jazz Bata, will light up the Laurie.

Closing out the blockbuster season on April 4, 2019, is a lively set from Norwegian trumpeter Tine “Tina” Thing Helseth and her 10-piece brass ensemble at Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, as well as a visit from the New York Philharmonic String Quartet at the University of the Incarnate Word Concert Hall.