Sights and sounds of summer camps at CMC

Camp CMC 2017

Camp CMC performance Photo: Stuart Zussman

Campers put on an incredible show at the end of their week of playing in ensembles together! Thanks to Camp Director Katie Wreede and faculty members Arwen Lawrence, Tregar Otton, and Jesse Wolff, as well as interns Aaron Bierman and Hannah Hanif from CMC’s Young Musicians Program for making beautiful music and big fun happen!
View photo album • Watch end-of-camp concert
Learn more about Camp CMC

Musical Discovery Camp 2017

Musical Discovery Campers Photo: Liz Harvey

Roots music of the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America brought CMC’s Mission Branch to life at the end of June. Thanks to Camp Director Hector Lugo and faculty members Jorge Liceaga and Cecilia Peña-Govea for an amazing week of camp. We can’t wait for more Musical Discovery next year!
View photo album • Watch end-of-camp concert
Learn more about Musical Discovery Camp


Chamber Music Camp 2017

Chamber Camp rehearsal Photo: Liz Harvey

Our chamber campers performed beautiful works from their classical repertoire with the guidance of our stellar coaches! Thanks to Camp Director Poppy Dorsam and faculty members Lauren Coney and Josepha Fath for bringing these budding performers together.
View photo album • Watch end-of-camp concert
Learn more about Chamber Music Camp


Concert Band Camp 2017

Concert Band Camp rehearsal Photo: CMC

This is CMC’s first-ever band camp, and we think it was a brilliant addition to our camp family! Thanks to Camp Director Bill McClanahan for bringing the sounds of concert band to CMC’s Richmond District Branch this summer. They bring back great memories to many of us!

View photo album • Stay tuned for concert footage
Learn more about Concert Band Camp

Preview new classes coming to CMC Fall Quarter!

Come singers, drummers, and little ones!

CMC is rolling out three new unique offerings for the Fall Quarter.

Sign up to sing and play along with your little ones in CMC Chiquitos: a one-of-a-kind Spanish bilingual family music class for ages 0-3. The class is taught by Susan Peña of the Latin music group La Familia Peña-Govea.

Percussionists of all ages and skill levels: gain hands-on experience with Indian rhythmic techniques in the new Indian Rhythms Ensemble taught by acclaimed performer Rohan Krishnamurthy. CMC will provide the instruments and no previous experience is required.

Join renowned CMC faculty Martha Rodríguez-Salazar and Jennifer Peringer in Coro de Cámara, a new chamber choir that will sing in the Baroque, Classical, and folk choral traditions of Spain and Latin America.


CMC Chiquitos

A Spanish Bilingual Family Music Class

This mixed-age music class for infants to three-year-olds and parents/caregivers provides a musical bonding experience and an introduction to singing, rhythmic activities, and musical play. Classes focus on the music of Latin America with an emphasis on Mexican music. More than one adult can attend with a registered child. Class is held in Spanish and English.

Ages: 0–3

Instruments: Voice and percussion instruments provided by CMC

Musical Styles: Music of Latin America

Class Size: 4–8 families

Location, Days and Times:  Mission District Branch, Thursdays, 11:00–11:45am

Instructor: Susan Peña

Tuition: $288 per quarter (12 weeks)
$192 for Summer Quarter (8 weeks)
Tuition will be increased by 5% starting Winter Quarter.
Ask us about our referral discount!
Sign up starting August 7!


Indian Rhythms Ensemble

This ensemble will explore universal techniques and approaches of Indian rhythm with a focus on the ancient South Indian Carnatic tradition. Gain hands-on experience playing several traditional instruments, including the pitched mridangam, khanjira frame drum, ghatam clay jug drum, and konakkol, a unique system of vocal percussion. Classes will culminate in a public performance with guest artists.

Ages: All

Instruments: Mridangam (double-sided pitched drum), khanjira (frame drum), ghatam (clay jug drum), konnakol vocal percussion (beat boxing). Open to singers and instrumentalists. Bring your instrument if you have one!

Musical Styles: Hand drumming; Indian rhythmic improvisation and composition; adapting traditional techniques to other instruments and across genres

Prerequisites: None

Location, Day and Time: Mission District Branch, Wednesdays, 6:00–7:00pm

Instructor:  Dr. Rohan Krishnamurthy

Tuition: $414 per quarter (12 weeks)
$276 for Summer Quarter (8 weeks)
Tuition will be increased by 5% starting Winter Quarter.
Sign up starting August 7!


Coro de Cámara

A chamber choir that sings the music of Spain and Latin America

Sing beautiful baroque, classical and folk music from Latin America and Spain in a small choir setting. Learn how to sing in Spanish, Latin and several dialects from the Americas in different styles ranging from the 13th century to modern folk styles.

Ages: Adults, older teens

Instrument: Voices of all ranges

Musical Styles: Baroque, classical, and folk music from Mexico, Spain and South America

Prerequisites: Ability to sing in tune and read music. Spanish fluency not required. Entrance by audition.

Class Size: 10–50 students

Location, Day and Time: Mission District Branch; Thursdays, 8:15–9:45pm

Instructor: Martha Rodríguez-Salazar, Director; Jennifer Peringer, Accompanist

Tuition: $366 per quarter (12 weeks)
$244 for Summer Quarter (8 weeks)
Tuition will be increased by 5% starting Winter Quarter.
Sign up starting August 7!

Mission District Young Musicians Program Celebrates Ten Years

In 2006-2007, CMC began a tuition-free program that offers a comprehensive music education through the study of Latin music. It is available for youth that live or go to school in the Mission District. Ten years later, the Mission District Young Musicians Program (MDYMP) is flourishing.

To celebrate this anniversary year, alumni were invited to speak to the musicians and audience members at the MDYMP’s end-of-year concert at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

Martha Rodriguez-Salazar, the MDYMP Program Coordinator since its beginning, shared some of the highlights of her guests’ messages to students that day:

Chus Alonso, founder and director of the MDYMP from 2006 – 2012, was our guest of honor. He shared some reflexions about his tenure with the program and the goals it’s accomplished, thanking students, parents, teachers, CMC staff, and the Mission Cultural Center. He also played a fabulous flute solo in Almendra, a classic danzón, during the concert.

Pianist Carlos Ballesteros (2009 – 2014) talked about how formative the program was for him and remembers the teachers fondly.

Violinist Yojani Ulloa (2008 – 2014) shared how important it was for her to have a community of people with common interests. She is encouraging her young brother to apply for the program this coming year.

Guitarist Kai Lyons  (2009 – 2011) said that he went a Jazz Conservatory in the East Coast (William Paterson University) to realize that he learned more about important and complex rhythmic patterns in his neighborhood program (MDYMP).

Trumpeter Ceci Peña-Govea (2006 – 2010) said that the MDYMP gave her the tools to build a musical career. She is now teaching guitar through a CMC program at the Mission Neighborhood Center. This fall, she will also teach in CMC’s Mariachi program in partnership with the SFUSD and in the MDYMP, along with her dad, Miguel Govea.

Trumpeter Kyana Orellana (2010 – 2015) shared how much the program taught her to be disciplined and provided her with the opportunity to learn Latin music. To the current students in the program, she said: “Even when it is hard to wake up early on Saturdays, appreciate the excellent opportunity that you are being given.” After Kyana graduated, she came back to write a paper about the MDYMP. She also volunteered as an assistant for a quarter.

Violist Joshua Urrutia (2012 – 2016) said that MDYMP supported him during the difficult teenage years and said how important it was to have Chris Borg, CMC’s Executive Director, as a viola teacher and mentor. He expressed gratitude for all of the MDYMP teachers.

Nena Aldaz wasn’t able to attend but sent a message that Chris Borg read. Here are a few highlights:

“I remember auditioning for the group and being intensely nervous. I was much more shy back then. I didn’t know if I could make any friends, or if people would like my singing. But, you all provided a safe space for me to learn and grow. You all supported me and helped me to find my voice.

MDYMP was more than just a program to me. It was the stepping stone I needed to become a more skilled and open artist. It taught me about the music from Latin American countries (which, sadly, is not the case in most universities’ music programs), and it taught me about feeling the music as much as understanding it.

What I learned with MDYMP has always been immensely useful to my musical education at UC Irvine. For example, I am currently taking Latin American Music (a class that was added this year and is only for the duration of the quarter) and my professor asked if anyone knew what a clave rhythm was. My hand shot straight up. I clapped it out for him… and he was impressed!

MDYMP helped me realize that what I truly want to do is to sing and perform. Now I am a vocal arts major at UCI, and I am being trained classically. I have also been accepted to the Bel Canto Institute of San Miguel Allende, in Mexico. I am going to train there for a little over a month. Only 20 students get in each year.

None of this would have been possible without all of you.”

Our thanks to Martha Rodriguez-Salazar for her account of this inspiring moment for our MDYMP community and her invaluable leadership and commitment. Each Saturday, Martha is joined by dedicated faculty members who also perform professionally: Javier Cabanillas, Miguel Govea, Lisa Larribeau, Tregar Otton, and Jesse Wolf.

Over the years, the MDYMP has performed in high profile events in the Mission District and beyond, such as Mission Carnaval, the Mission District Cinco de Mayo Celebration, the SF International Arts Festival, La Posarela performances at the Brava and Victoria Theaters, CMC gala performances at SFJAZZ and the Fairmont Hotel San Francisco, and El Son de la Mision at the Brava Theater last year.

Look out for our MDYMP alumni and faculty performing out in the community!

CMC students pass exams with flying colors

Did you know that some CMC teachers support students with exam preparation?

CMC students can challenge themselves and measure their progress by preparing for exams such as the American String Teacher’s Association Certificate Advancement Program, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music exams, the Royal Conservatory of Music exams, the Music Teachers’ Association of California’s Certificate of Merit program, and others.

Congratulations to the thirty CMC students below on their achievement this school year!

American String Teacher’s Association Certificate Advancement Program
Alycia Tam, violin student of Monika Gruber-Gibbons

Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music exams
Chloe Chan, flute student of Annelise Zamula, passed level 3 with distinction
Holly Lee, piano student of Paul Dab, passed level 4
Sunnie Lee, piano student of Paul Dab, passed level 5
Darren Leung, piano student of Christian Bonvin, passed level 2 with merit
Alycia Tam, violin student of Monika Gruber-Gibbons
Kelsey Wong, piano student of Christian Bonvin, passed level 1 with merit

Royal Conservatory of Music exams
Loren Gigi, piano student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko, passed level 6 with honors
Priscilla Guan, piano student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko, passed level 8
Thomas Ian, piano student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko, passed level 9
Tiffany Ian, piano student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko, passed level 7 with honors
Winston Lee, piano student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko, passed level 4 with honors
Jaden Liu, piano student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko, passed level 1
Richa Nath, piano student of Paula Dreyer, received First Class Honors in level 3 and earned the Certificate of Excellence for scoring the highest in San Francisco for her level

Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC) Certificate of Merit evaluations
Catherine Chen, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 2
Jonathan Chen, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 5
Emily Chen, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 7
Louise Chen, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 3 with honors
Jenna Chui, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 5
Nicole Chui, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 7 (High School Award)
Angelina Costa, piano student of Elyse Weakley, completed level 3
Luciano Costa, piano student of Elyse Weakley, completed level 1
Evelyn Guo, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 6
Brenton Lai, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 8 with honors
Victor Louie, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 3
Sammy McClanahan, piano student of Juliet McComas, received the top score of a 5+
Alex Piskov, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 6
Rebecca Portnoy, piano student of Juliet McComas, received the top score of a 5+
Brydon Zheng, piano student of Lilia Zheltova, completed level 3

Why participate in music examinations? Our faculty weigh in:

“My most motivated students choose to participate in the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Music Development Program (MDP). It is a rigorous program requiring repertoire from all four musical eras, etudes, and loads of scales, chords, arpeggios, sight reading, and ear training. Last year my student Richa Nath got the highest score in San Francisco for her Level 3 exam. I was very proud of her accomplishments! I enjoy the well rounded musical foundation that the program lays for dedicated students. In order to ensure the student is not only focusing on the exam all year, we also incorporate a fun “30 Piece Challenge.” My closest student is two pieces away from the goal! My students who participate in the MDP reach quite a high level of playing ability. I am proud of all of my students who prepare well enough to participate, as it is no small feat!”
– Paula Dreyer

“I resisted putting students in for Certificate of Merit (CM) for the longest time. It seemed like there were so many rules that I found it offputting. But when I attended the MTAC student recitals, I noticed that the ones who participated in CM were always more solid and confident in performance. So I took the plunge and the first thing I noticed when I offered this to CMC students is they were much more likely to commit from quarter to quarter, including summer. So I have very few students who drop and it’s been like that ever since. I don’t make any of my students do it but simply offer it as an opportunity. I think they like to do it because it’s like passing a grade in school and going up to the next level. I think it definitely gives them a marker of their progress and they sure like getting those high marks and that certificate!”
– Juliet McComas

Interested in exam prep?

If you are interested in exam prep at CMC, contact a registrar who can make faculty recommendations depending on your instrument and goals.

Congratulations once again to our students and their teachers – you make us proud!

Announcing CMC’s 2017-2018 Merit Scholars

Each May, a jury of CMC faculty and staff auditions students for full scholarships for the next school year’s private lessons. These awards are based on need and merit. This year we heard dozens of youths play an extraordinarily diverse repertoire. The following are the 2017-2018 Merit Scholarship recipients:

Charlotte Ackerley Memorial Scholarship
Ying Chen, violin student of Sin-Tung Chiu

Chevron Scholarship
Amy Yu, violin student of Oscar Hasbun

Bella and P.P. Chiu Memorial Scholarship Fund
Isabella Torrez, voice student of Martha Rodriguez-Salazar
Murali Meyer, voice student of Jonathan Smucker
Leo Safir, clarinet student of Michael Jordin
Alexandra Granat, flute student of Annelise Zamula

Ruth and Martin Elsner Memorial Scholarships
Megan Ma, violin student of Abigail Shiman
Qiao Ying Chen, piano student of Sarah Stiles

Gertrude Field Memorial Scholarship
Dinh Tran, flute student of Diane Grubbe

Marian N. Ford Memorial Scholarship in Strings
Olivia Chan, violin student of Sin-Tung Chiu

Tyler Guge Memorial Scholarship
Journey Moore-Prewitt, piano student of Maestro Curtis

Harold Haber Memorial Scholarship
Maritza Bautista, piano student of Evelyn Davis

Hilda Haber, Jr. Memorial Scholarship in piano
Hannah Kim, piano student of Grace Yu

Koret Scholarship
Susanna Lau, piano student of Janis Mercer

Ross McKee Memorial Scholarships in Piano
Christine Chen, student of Les McWilliams
Trinity Lee, student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko
Rosa Zhang, student of Lilia Zheltova
Laura Chen, student of Elyse Weakley
Tiffany Ian, student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko

Alice Morini Memorial Scholarship
Sophia Manodori, violin student of Tregar Otton

Maurice, Helen, and Carl Shapiro Memorial Scholarship
Sunnie Lee, piano student of Paul Dab

The Shenson Foundation Scholarship
Brenton Lai, piano student of Lilia Zheltova

Shorr Memorial Scholarship in Chamber Music
Kelly Lee, violin student of Oscar Hasbun

Gioia Taber Piano Scholarship
Kimberly Chen, piano student of Grace Yu

Mrs. Paul L. Wattis Memorial Scholarship
Amy G. Li, flute student of Annelise Zamula

Joan Wild Memorial Scholarships
Vanessa Lopez, piano student of Shirley Marshall
Devin King-Roberts, piano student of Kristine Zhang

Peter F. Ostwald, M.D. Memorial Scholarship
Lola Salomon, cello student of Ben Snellings

Reah Sadowsky Memorial Scholarship (sponsored by Women Musicians Club of SF)
Jennifer Lee, piano student of Christian Bonvin

Isabel Hesselberg Memorial Scholarship
Karen Domingo, piano student of Martha Rodriguez-Salazar

James Hunt Scholarship
Priscilla Guan, flute student of Annelise Zamula

Ruth Lasky Scholarship
Manhattan Liu, ukulele student of Erik Pearson

CMC Older Adult Choirs Conclude Their Season with Ten Free Concerts Across San Francisco

CMC’s 30th Street Chorus Performing at Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, May 2017.
Photo courtesy of YBG Festival/Photos by Bishoculars

Sonia Caltvedt
Marketing Director
415-647-6015 x75

SAN FRANCISCO (May 26, 2017) – Over three-hundred singers in Community Music Center’s Older Adult Choir Program are preparing for a series of ten concerts across the city between May 30 and June 15. The free performances, open to the public, will take place at San Francisco community and senior centers, with a special appearance of the 30th Street Chorus at the JCCSF’s Brain Fitness Forum on June 11.

The concerts will feature music that represents the many cultures of the choir members and their communities, including gospel, jazz, Latin American, show tunes, folk songs, oldies and Americana, among others.

CMC’s Older Choir Program brings the many personal, social, and quality of life benefits of making music to hundreds of seniors in the city each week. The program began five years ago when CMC began partnering with senior centers to provide music opportunities for older adults. It has grown to include twelve choirs as choirs have cycled out of the Community of Voices research study, a three way partnership between UCSF, Community Music Center and the Department of Aging and Adult Services. The choirs are active in neighborhoods throughout San Francisco, serving a diversity of communities.

The choir program is free for any older adult ages 55 and up, regardless of musical background or experience. The choirs provide a unique way for seniors to learn about singing, form new friendships, perform in community concerts, and improve their quality of life.

A complete list of the free concerts can be found below. A short video documentary about the Older Adult Choir Program and information about how to participate can be found here.

CMC Older Adult Choir Program Concert Schedule

CMC Richmond Senior Center Choir
Tuesday, May 30 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Richmond Senior Center, 6221 Geary Blvd.

CMC Western Addition Older Adult Choir
Wednesday, May 31 from 10:00 – 11:30 am
Western Addition Senior Center, 1390 ½ Turk St.

CMC Bayview Older Adult Choir
Wednesday, May 31 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center, 1753 Carroll Ave.

CMC Aquatic Park Older Adult Choir
Thursday, June 1 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm
Aquatic Park Center, 890 Beach St.

CMC OMI Senior Center Choir
Friday, June 2 from 12:30 – 1:30 pm
OMI Senior Center, 65 Beverly St.

CMC Solera Singers of Mission Neighborhood Center
Friday, June 9 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Mission Neighborhood Center, 362 Capp St.

CMC 30th Street Chorus of 30th Street Senior Center
JCC Brain Fitness Forum
Sunday, June 11 from 1:15 – 2:00 pm
Jewish Community Center of SF, 3200 California St.

CMC Bernal Heights Older Adult Choir
Monday, June 12 from 2 – 3:30 pm
Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Ave.

CMC Older Adult Choir at Castro Senior Center
Tuesday, June 13 from 2 – 3:30 pm
Castro Senior Center, 110 Diamond St.

Coro CMC del Centro Latino de San Francisco
Thursday, June 15 from 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Centro Latino de SF, 1656 15th St.

About Community Music Center
CMC is one of the oldest and largest community arts organizations on the West Coast making high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of financial means since 1921. During the last school year, more than 2,400 students studied music at CMC in a wide array of programs, classes, workshops, and community events. Thousands more attended free concerts, performances by acclaimed visiting artists, instrument “petting zoos,” and many other events. CMC offers lessons on over 30 instruments to its students, whose ages span nearly 100 years. Learn more about CMC at and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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CMC’s Sylvia Sherman recognized by SFUSD with Dreamcatcher Award

On May 4, the SFUSD Visual and Performing Arts Department recognized our Program Director Sylvia Sherman as a community arts partner with a Dreamcatcher Award. The award ceremony was held at the SFUSD Arts Festival Community Celebration at the Asian Art Museum, and featured exuberant live music and dance by SFUSD students.

Donn Harris, SFUSD’s Executive Director for Creativity and the Arts and Chair of the California Arts Council, presented Sylvia with her award, beginning with a quote from John Coltrane, “You can play a shoestring if you’re sincere.”

He went on to make sure the audience knew of CMC’s long history of providing music education to all: “CMC has always been a beacon in our minds, a special place with real roots in the Mission District and the kind of pure mission that we all want to be part of . . . .you know the arts are OK as long as places like CMC are thriving.”

CMC partners with SFUSD to bring mariachi music to SF public schools
In 2015, CMC began work with the SFUSD to provide teaching artists for the district’s mariachi program. Over the past two years, CMC faculty members Miguel Govea, Tregar Otton, and Martha Rodríguez-Salazar have taught at Buena Vista Horace Mann, Cesar Chavez Elementary, Fairmont Elementary and Mission High Schools as part of a San Francisco Unified School District-led initiative to teach mariachi music in their schools.

Mariachi programs are springing up across the U.S. as a way to bring music education to a wider group of students, engage families, honor students’ culture, and better address the needs of Spanish bilingual students. This culturally responsive program meets music education standards and follows a pedagogy just as traditional orchestra and band programs do.

About the Dreamcatcher Award:
Inspired by individually crafted Native American dreamcatchers, highly endowed and talismanic works of art believed to have the power to capture dreams and prevent negativity, the Visual and Performing Arts Department of the San Francisco Uni ed School District proudly presents Dreamcatcher Awards as part of the SFUSD Arts Festival to honor individuals who have inspired our educational community through the excellent work they have done to promote the vision and the promise of the SFUSD Arts Education Master Plan.

Dreamcatcher recipients come from various parts of the community, including arts teachers, school arts coordinators, principals, administrators and community arts partners. The Visual and Performing Arts Department is proud to recognize these arts education leaders with the annual Dreamcatcher Awards, which made their debut in 2007, along with the Master Plan, and have provided our community with a way to recognize and celebrate the excellent work provided by these exemplary and inspiring arts leaders.

More info:

Student leader Dephny Duan on her first arrangement: “How Far I’ll Go”

Interview by Katherine Mumm, student volunteer

Dephny Duan, a cellist from CMC’s Young Musicians Program, took it upon herself to bring some popular kid’s music into the YMP’s repertoire with her arrangement of the hit “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. Dephny, with the support of YMP Director Alex Keitel, arranged the song for two violins, viola, cello and guitar. A YMP ensemble that included Dephny performed the arrangement at the Richmond Branch Library in March to the delight of children who attended the performance. The performance was followed by an instrument petting zoo and an information session presented by the YMP program.

Katherine: What inspired you to arrange a song from Moana? Was there anything in particular about the movie that stood out for you as inspiration for an arrangement?

Dephny: We (YMP leadership team) were planning out our repertoire for the Richmond Branch Library performance, and we wanted to incorporate a piece that younger children [could enjoy].  We thought that performing, “How Far I’ll Go,” would be perfect. The song was about freedom and and discovering oneself. Although the words weren’t sung during our performance, the power of the song was definitely felt while playing. The song starts out with a calm mood and grows with power and passion till the climatic end.

Katherine: What was most difficult and most exciting about the process of arranging a piece?

Dephny: One of the more difficult parts about arranging the piece was transposing the three voice parts into two violins, a viola part AND adding a guitar part. I have never played the guitar, but with some help from my cello teacher and flexibility of the guitar player, I was able to simply write in the chords….

By far, the most challenging part of arranging the piece, was learning how to use the program to arrange the piece. I’ve never arranged a piece before let alone write up music digitally. I learned that using apps like MuseScore definitely makes arranging and composing a lot easier and smoother.

The most exciting part was hearing how the piece sounded with real live instruments!

Katherine: How long have you played your instrument, and what has your experience been as a musician while growing up?

Dephny: I’ve been playing the cello for around four years now. I was first introduced to the piano at a young age. I discovered the cello in middle school.  I slowly drifted from the piano and fell in love with the deep and powerful voice of the cello.

I have and will always love music for its never-ending game. Whether it’s a piece with challenging rhythms, tempo, or fingerings; the thrill of learning and perfecting a piece is the best feeling and has stuck with me all these years.

A Salute to the Joy of Making Music: Taste teaser!

CMC’s annual gala: A Salute to the Joy of Making Music is looking to be not only an entertaining evening of music and festivities, but also a celebration for the taste buds. The event at the Four Season Hotel in San Francisco features headliner Regina Carter, San Francisco Performances Founder and President-Emeritus Ruth A. Felt receiving CMC’s Community Impact Gertrude Field Award, and a three-course menu catered by the Four Seasons.

Not too long ago, the Four Season Hotel gave a first taste of the menu to CMC’s Development Director, Mary Ann Grossman and Development Coordinator, Elenka Refsell. In Elenka’s words the food is “all wonderful!” Mary Ann praised the soubise sauce on the sea bass. Both Elenka and Mary Ann had particularly beaming reviews of the blood orange mousse for its uniquely delicious flavor. The mousse tops a citrus-hazelnut torte.

See for yourself, and read the delicious details below.

Or better yet, taste for yourself!  Tickets are still available.

Salad Course:
Wild arugula, roasted golden beet, shaved radish, strawberry, hazelnut, red wine gastrique

Entrees (guests choose one):
Quinoa risotto, braised endive, arugula, white cheddar, apricot-pistachio relish
Sea bass, soubise, confit potatoes, grilled root vegetables, beurre rouge
Roasted chicken breast, celery root gratin, artichoke, maitake, walnut pesto

Dessert (desserts alternate at each seat so guests can share with table-mates):
Citrus-hazelnut torte, blood orange mousse, Grand Marnier, salted hazelnut toffee, mandarin sorbet
Coffee-mascarpone varrine, vanilla chiffon cake, Kahlúa crème, amoretti cookie

A Salute to the Joy of Making Music

Monday, May 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm
Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
6:00PM: Exclusive VIP reception with Ruth A. Felt and Regina Carter
6:30PM: Reception, dinner, and performance
The event features a headliner performance by world renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter and pianist Xavier Davis.


Garrick Ohlsson shares insights and delights during CMC master class

Guest artists lend new perspectives at Community Music Center
Over the years, CMC has invited world-renowned musicians to our school to offer their musical wisdom to our students. Artists such as Latin percussionist John Santos, Indian percussionist Rohan Krishnamurthy, classical pianist Emanuel Ax, and ensembles such as the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble have brought free clinics to the CMC community.

On March 25, celebrated classical pianist Garrick Ohlsson gave a free master class at CMC.  He spent 30 minutes with each of the three young students selected to participate: Rebecca Portnoy and Daniel Shin, students of Juliet McComas, and Brenton Lai, a student of Lilia Zheltova.

An extraordinary pianist
Garrick Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of eight, at the Westchester Conservatory of Music, and entered The Juilliard School in New York City at 13. Since his 1970 triumph at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, he has established himself worldwide as a musician of great lyrical interpretation and technical prowess. He is noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire.

Insightful instruction
Throughout the master class in CMC’s Concert Hall, Ohlsson was personable, insightful, and instructive. He affirmed how each student played, and showed respect for the students as young musicians taking this journey through their music studies.

Ohlsson was very detailed in his feedback for the students. Here are just a few observations he shared:

Sonata in D, Hob.XVI:24 by Franz Joseph Haydn, performed by Rebecca Portnoy
He gave Rebecca tips for the articulation of fast runs, then worked on the legato areas in contrast. He asked her to almost overlap the notes in her pedal work. Other suggestions were to take more time at the fermata in order to build anticipation, and to add an element of humor.

Arabesque No. 1 by Claude Debussy, performed by Daniel Shin
He recommended that Daniel make his tone project more during softer moments so that the audience can appreciate them. He suggested that the pianist think about dynamics and their relationship to one another. He also made voicing suggestions within a chord.

Fantasy in D minor, K. 397 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by Brenton Lai
He showed Brenton how to make the piece sound more operatic with dramatic dynamic changes. He also offered more ways to practice runs, emphasizing the importance of practicing each hand individually. This way, you can appreciate the role of what each hand has to do.

Said Juliet McComas, “As a faculty member, it is valuable to hear another perspective and opinion on our students’ playing. If you share an opinion with the guest artist, it may be put in another way that reaches the students.”

Lilia Zheltova agreed, and shared her experience as the teacher of one of the participants: “My heart was pounding while Brenton was playing. I think I was much more nervous listening to my student than I would have been if I had been playing for Garrick myself.”

McComas added, “Bravo to the CMC students who put themselves out there in front of Mr. Ohlsson and a rapt audience. All showed extraordinary composure and maturity. There was a lot of happiness all around: the kids knew they did well, and the parents were thrilled and proud.”

Ohlsson delighted the audience at the end with two Chopin Mazurkas and the Rachmaninoff Prelude in C sharp minor, brilliantly showcasing the dynamic range and tone quality of CMC’s new concert grand. We hope for the chance to host him on our stage again soon!

View photos from the March 2017 Master Class by Linda Nakasone

Community Music Center’s new Yamaha CFX concert grand has been donated by the estate of Donald Oestreicher and by Piedmont Piano Company, with additional gifts from Denny Abrams, Robert Dell, Lawrence Dillon, and Larry Russo.