Doctors Kenneth Bloom and Sheila Swartzman are avid music lovers, retired physicians, and active arts advocates of the San Antonio community. In their retirement, they are currently serving as board members for many local arts organizations, including the San Antonio Chamber Music Society, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, Cactus Pear Music Festival, the San Antonio International Piano Competition, Musical Bridges Around the World, and the San Antonio Symphony. They additionally support many other cultural and philanthropic organizations.
Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, they first moved to North America in 1972, with residencies in Cincinnati, Toronto, and finally San Antonio, in 1979. Doctor Bloom was initially offered a position at the Brooke Army Medical Center, which was establishing its first pediatric cardiology program. Doctor Swartzman joined the faculty of the University of Texas Health Science Center as an anesthesiologist, and first became a member of the SAS board in 2006.
Although neither has ever studied music, they have always been avid listeners and supporters. "Music is an essential part of our lives, and we try to involve music in all of our activities, whether traveling and seeing concerts, or enjoying the many chamber ensembles in this city," remarks Sheila. "We have been season ticket holders since our arrival here 37 years ago...it is always thrilling to hear live classical music played beautifully by the SA Symphony Musicians."
Over the years, they've also generously opened their home to many musicians, including guest performers, and new members of the symphony. I was fortunate enough to stay with them in my first few months here, and was so grateful for their generosity and good company. Their generosity extends far beyond the concert hall, and their passion for music and supporting musicians is notable.
Thanks, Ken and Sheila, for all that you do!
L-R: Dr. Sheila Swartzman, Associate Concertmaster Bonnie Terry, Principal Viola Allyson Dawkins, Dr. Kenneth Bloom.
Photo courtesy Annette Paulin, San Antonio Symphony VP of Development