Cactus Pear Music Festival founder will step down in 2021

April 24, 2019 GMT

Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio will be stepping down as artistic director of the Cactus Pear Music Festival in 2021.

The two finalists to succeed her — pianists Scott Cuellar and Ryo Yanagitani — will play a role in the festivals this year and next. They will appear as musicians, as they have in the past, and also will serve as artistic director for one week of programming and for a VIP house concert.

Cuellar will be in the spotlight this summer, and Yanigitani will get his turn next year.

Both have been gold medalists in the San Antonio International Piano Competition. Yanigatani won in 2009, and Cuellar won in 2016.

“I’m confident that the artistic vision and world-class artistry will continue in the capable hands of either candidate,” Sant’Ambrogio said in a statement. “They are both stellar musicians, compassionate individuals and visionary artists.”

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The announcement was made in a press release Wednesday morning.

The 2019 festival takes place July 10-21.

Sant’Ambrogio founded the annual chamber music celebration, which draws leading musicians to San Antonio each summer, in 1996. At the time, she was concertmaster for the San Antonio Symphony. She continued in that role after she left San Antonio in 2007.

“I’m always really thrilled to get back to San Antonio,” she said in a 2015 interview with the Express-News. “The audiences have been so loyal and so big and so supportive that it’s just one of the high points of my year to come back and see everybody and play for everybody again.”

dlmartin@express-news.net | Twitter: @DeborahMartinEN

Deborah Martin is an arts writer in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | dlmartin@express-news.net | Twitter: @DeborahMartinEN