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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.
Founded by cellist Kenneth Freudigman and violist Emily Watkins Freudigman in 2004, Camerata San Antonio brings together a symphonic roster composed of several of the San Antonio Symphony's principal players and more than a few internationally recognized musicians. More than a dozen acclaimed artists might be on-call for a concert during any given season, and the entourage's diverse concert schedule consequently offers plenty of strikingly different small-ensemble performances.
A National Historic Landmark, the Majestic Theatre has beckoned more than 4,000 performances to its sweeping stage since its renovation in 1989 and has been praised by such notable guests as Tony Bennett, Sting, and former first lady Barbara Bush. Inside, a Mediterranean-style cityscape frames the theater's proscenium, and the ceiling swirls with projections of clouds, allowing audience members to release parakeets into the wild during concerts and Broadway shows.
ARTS San Antonio brings cultural magic from around the country to South Texas. Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet, Cuba’s Arturo Sandoval, and New York’s Spanish Harlem Orchestra have all been presented by ARTS SA to enrich the community.
Whether you’re there to enjoy the symphony or rock out to the likes of Alice Cooper, this national historic landmark theater delights with its undeniably romantic design. Built in 1929 and modeled after Spanish-Mediterranean architecture, it boasts opulent details that make the whole place feel like a fantasy palace instead of a music venue.