San Antonio Symphony
Although symphonic concerts could be heard in San Antonio all the way back in the 1880s, the formation of the San Antonio Symphony—the city's first formal orchestra—didn't happen until 1939. It was then that Max Reiter, a native of Italy, was forced from his career and home by a freshly established anti-Semitic policy. Reiter boarded a ship for New York, found the city teeming with exiled musicians like himself, and therefore purchased a train ticket to the South. There, San Antonio's leaders invited Reiter to conduct a demonstration concert for a crowd of 2,500. The success of that initial impression led to the formal founding of the Symphony and an inaugural concert just five months later. Today, Sebastian Lang-Lessing stands where Reiter once stood, leading a full ensemble of 75 musicians with a baton hand honed across the globe.