David Dezern, Associate Registrar. David comes to CMC with a background in academic administration, nonprofit systems, and organizational assessment. As Director of Faculty Services at Starr King School for the Ministry, he co-chaired the accreditation and strategic planning committee, implemented new programs, formulated procedure manuals, and streamlined registration processes. He has worked as a publicist, event coordinator, and database analyst for the Lupus Foundation of Northern California; a curator and researcher for the Academy Members Project; a teacher of queer and postcolonial theories; a store manager; and a documentary filmmaker. He holds degrees in systematic theology and cultural studies from the University of Notre Dame (B.A.) and the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (M.A.). In his youth, he played the tuba for eleven years, performing in both concert and marching bands.
Mary Ann Grossman, Development Director. Prior to joining CMC, Mary Ann was Development Director for The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley. Before moving from New York to the Bay Area in 2013, she transitioned from a career in financial services to development and community outreach for a number of leading nonprofit organizations including Development Director for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children; Chief Development Officer for the Westchester Institute for Human Development and Director of Development and Community Affairs for Forestdale (Queens) Children and Family Services. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in psychology and English, she holds a Masters degree from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and the Russian Institute, She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). A lifelong piano student, she also studied organ (on scholarship).
Linda Hitchcock, Concert Hall Manager and Registrar. Linda has worked as the Manager of the CMC Children’s Chorus, the CMC Orchestra, and the SF Sinfonietta Orchestra. She has also been Production Manager for the Berkeley Symphony, SF Choral Society, and the SF City Chorus. Linda has a Bachelor’s of Science from Empire State College, where she studied Environmental Science and Music. She has also completed advanced course work at UC Berkeley in Business Administration. In her spare time, Linda enjoys playing tympani and percussion with several orchestras and bands throughout the Bay area.
Janet Houser, Richmond District Branch Registrar. Janet began playing the violin at the age of six and has worked in the field of arts administration since 1976. She was Development Associate and Orchestra Librarian for the San Francisco Symphony; Operations Manager for the San Francisco Opera; and Office Manager for Mariedi Anders Artist Management. She has also worked as website manager for opportunityknocks.org and Executive Assistant to CEO and CFO Commonwealth Club of California. Janet holds a Bachelor of Music in Music History and Literature from SFSU and has performed with the Villa Sinfonia and the SF Sinfonietta Orchestra. Janet is a San Francisco native and has lived in the Richmond District all of her life. She is also a faithful Giants fan.
Aron Kidane, Senior Accountant. Aron joined CMC in 2017. Aron has over 10 years of experience in accounting and finance. Prior joining CMC, Aron worked for DZH Phillips, a CPA firm in Oakland. Aron brings 7 years of experience in the field of accounting, including audit, tax, and financial reporting. Aron holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from University of Asmara, Eritrea and Master’s in Financial Management from University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Anne C. Mitchell, Marketing Manager. Anne has been working and performing in the Mission District arts community since 2002. As a musician she has shared the stage with the indie great Ani DiFranco, and has collaborated extensively with critically acclaimed poet Judy Grahn. With an interest in musical performance that goes beyond the stage, Anne has worked in an organizational capacity for Eth-Noh-Tec storytelling group, ODC Theater, Nusku Arts in teaching, programs, box office management, marketing, and event coordination. She found her way to CMC is 2011 like so many through her love of studying music and composition. She holds an MFA in Songwriting and Vocal Technique from New College of California and a BA in Cultural Arts from the Evergreen State College. Her music can be found at annecarol.com.
Tania Morales, Mission District Branch Registrar. Tania earned a degree in computer and technology in Nicaragua. While going to school, she also worked as a music teacher who travelled to poor neighborhoods in Nicaragua to teach recorder. This lead to an opportunity for her to become the Office Administrator of a non-profit music school called Musica en los Barrios for five years. In 2005, she moved to San Francisco and began working at CMC, where she feels at home. Tania continues her computer studies at City College.
David Reffkin, Associate Program Director. David’s musical career connects performance, education, research, journalism, and administration. His first San Francisco engagement was in 1978 as the concertmaster of the CMC Orchestra, and he has worked with many diverse local groups. He is active as a seminar speaker, editor, consultant, columnist, recording engineer, festival producer, and director of The American Ragtime Ensemble. He was a KUSF radio producer for 30 years and a curator for the SF Performing Arts Library and Museum. He received the Leonard Bernstein, Joseph Spaziano, and Scott Joplin awards, and the Mayor’s Certificate of Honor for service to San Francisco. Among his extended engagements as a violinist, David led a trio (12 years) at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, and a string quartet (9 years) in San Mateo County school demonstration programs. He was a longtime member of the Lamplighters Orchestra, and a founding member of both San Francisco Chamber Players and The Peter Mintun Orchestra. Since 1990, he has been performing with the Divertimento Dance Orchestra. David engages his non-music neurons with astrophysics, acrostics composition, and “Fortune Art” creations for Friends of SF Public Library. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music.
Elenka Refsell, Development Coordinator. Elenka started learning to read music at age four and hasn’t looked back since. Before coming to CMC, she worked as the Registrar and Donor Services Manager at the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir and the Development Associate at the Shanti Project. A singer and voice teacher, Elenka has sung with a number of prestigious Bay Area ensembles and opera choruses, including Volti, the International Orange Chorale, West Edge Opera, and Festival Opera. In 2011 she was pleased to premiere the soprano role in Andrew Pascoe’s God: The Opera. A transplant from the Boston Area, Elenka is happy to call the Bay Area home.
Carolyn Squeri, Campaign Director. Carolyn comes to CMC with experience in managing successful fundraising and capital campaigns, and with strong interests in community development and strategic planning. She has capital campaign experience from her previous positions at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, Notre Dame de Namur University, and San Francisco Heritage at the Haas-Lilienthal House, where she most recently served as Director of Development. A fourth generation San Franciscan, Carolyn’s fundraising experience developed at her sons’ schools, Cathedral School for Boys, St. Ignatius College Prep, Lick-Wilmerding High School, and Stanford University. She has served on the boards of Good Samaritan Community Center, St. Francis Wood Women’s League, Stanford Women’s Club of San Francisco, St. Francis Homes Association, Stanford Parents’ Advisory Board, and the West of Twin Peaks Central Council. Carolyn is a graduate of Stanford University, where she earned a B.A. in History with a focus on international relations.
Julie Rulyak Steinberg, Executive Director. Prior to joining Community Music Center, Julie served as the Executive Director of Turtle Bay Music School in New York City. Julie has an extensive background in fundraising and institutional advancement, and brings a wealth of experience in brand identity, strategic planning, and best practices for program development and sustainability. Julie has served as a grant panelist for numerous organizations including the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York Times Company Foundation. Deeply committed to the expansion of community music-making, Julie trained with Third Street Music School Settlement and the National Guild for Community Arts Education while developing curriculum for a Community Music Education Master’s Degree program at New York University. She is also a teacher of the Orff Schulwerk. Julie holds a B.M., summa cum laude, and M.A. from New York University’s Steinhardt School for Culture, Education and Human Development. Julie spends her spare time running, bumbling through triathlons, playing Scrabble, reading a few pages before she falls asleep, and exploring the city with her family.
Sylvia Sherman, Program Director. Sylvia brings more than twenty-five years of experience with non-profit and philanthropic organizations to Community Music Center. These include the San Francisco Art Commission, Oakland School for the Arts, and various community-based and philanthropic groups. She worked for fourteen years as Director of Development and Special Projects at La Peña Cultural Center, developing long-range strategic plans, institutional and individual donor fundraising, special program initiatives, coordinating La Peña’s artist-in-residence program; producing new work, concerts of international artists, and multi-disciplinary program series. Sylvia is an alumna of community-based arts education programs, playing percussion and bass, currently performing with Latin Jazz group, Survival Groove.
Denise Wells, Director of Finance and Administration. Denise has held high level finance positions for non-profit organizations for over 20 years and is a CPA with an MBA from Golden Gate University. Denise comes to us from First Place for Youth where she was Vice President of Administration and Finance.
Barbara Kosnar, President
Barbara Kosnar retired from her position as a financial executive at Union Bank in 2011. She began her career as a Certified Public Accountant, working for a “Big Four” firm. She has an MBA from Golden Gate University and an undergraduate degree in Music Education from San Francisco State University. Barbara served on the Board of Directors of the Union Bank Foundation and of Audubon Canyon Ranch, and was a member of the Audit Committee of the ClimateWorks Foundation. An avid amateur pianist, she has studied for many years at CMC and enjoys spending time playing four-hand piano pieces with friends. Having discovered CMC as a student, she is honored to serve and support the school so that others can discover the joy of making music for themselves.
Catharine L. Kalin, Vice President
Currently Vice President of the CMC Board of Directors and chair of the governance committee, Catharine Kalin is a past board president and has served on the board for almost 20 years, having chaired the executive director search committee and five-year plan committee. She is now retired from having served as director of operations at the Ploughshares Fund, a public foundation investing in peace and security worldwide, for over 25 years. She was a docent at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for 18 years and served as Docent Council president.
Paisley Schade, Vice President is a freelance Creative Director/Writer. She built her career at large branding and advertising agencies, including Landor and Ogilvy. Even as a self-declared “word nerd,” music has never been far from her mind. Paisley has played the harp since childhood and combined her love of language and music for her MA in Ethnomusicolinguistics at NYU. She also has a degree in Psychology from Scripps College, where she studied the correlation of music comprehension and child development.
Paul Sussman, Treasurer
Paul Sussman is a consultant to nonprofit organizations, lenders and foundations. He previously served as Chief Financial Officer of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), and was the founding president of the Northern California Community Loan Fund. Paul is a former trumpeter and his two children and wife have been CMC students.
Tim Eischens, Secretary
Tim Eischens is a baritone and an accompanist. He earned his music degree from Minnesota State University – Moorhead, The Mozarteum Conservatory, and The University of Salzburg, Austria. He has sung with the San Francisco Lyric Opera, Urban Opera, Renaissance Voices, Choral Society, Bach Chorus and has performed recitals at CMC. He regularly accompanies singers around the Bay Area and studies voice with soprano, Susan Gundunas. Tim is also the Executive Assistant to the Chief Technology Officer at Autodesk, Inc. Autodesk is a world leader in 3D design software for manufacturing, building, construction, engineering, and entertainment.
Patricia Taylor Lee, President Emerita
Pianist Patricia Taylor Lee is Professor and Chair Emerita of the Music Department of San Francisco State University and Artistic Director of the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition in Palm Desert, CA. She has also served on the faculties of the University of California, Davis and West Chester University in Pennsylvania and for ten years was the official pianist of the Sacramento Symphony. Dr. Lee earned a BA at Mills College and graduate degrees at Yale and Temple Universities. She is a trustee of the Ross McKee Foundation and a past trustee of Mills College, the Women’s Philharmonic, Friends of Chamber Music, the Performing Arts Library and Museum, and the Sacramento Symphony.
Katherine L. Aizawa is an employee benefits attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP, an international law firm with 16 offices throughout the United States and offices in Brussels and Tokyo. She advises clients on providing medical and retirement benefits to employees. Kathy learned about CMC’s good work through a good friend and is confident that her piano lessons helped her survive her teenage years. She has been a San Francisco Opera subscriber for many years.
Lucia Bogatay has practiced architecture since 1969. She earned a degree in History of Art from Wellesley College and a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Lucia currently serves as President of the board of the Presidio Historical Association. She serves on the boards of 405 Shrader, a chamber music performance organization, and the Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association. She helped supervise the 1983 renovation of CMC’s Mission District Branch and subsequently joined the board. Lucia took piano lessons at the CMC for a dozen years, and still enjoys playing the piano.
Katherine Bukstein holds a Masters of Music in Viola Performance from San Francisco State University. She has taught music privately and in the public schools. From 2004 to the present, she has served on the board of San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and served as its president from 2009 – 2016. She currently serves on the Artistic Committee of the Peninsula Symphony and the Artistic and Education Committees of Music at Kohl Mansion. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation. Katherine is an avid chamber musician and also performs with the Peninsula Symphony.
Debbie Chinn is the Executive Director of Opera Parallèle, based in San Francisco. She most recently served as Executive Director of the Carmel Bach Festival for five seasons where she implemented her strategic vision to grow the Festival from a two-week festival into a presenter of classical music concerts over a 12-month period. Over the past 30 years, Debbie has held executive leadership positions as Managing Director of Baltimore Center Stage, California Shakespeare Theater, and Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. She currently sits on the board of Theatre Bay Area, the largest regional theatre service organization in North America. Her transformative work at the Carmel Bach Festival is featured as one of thirteen case studies in “Creative Social Change: Leadership for a Healthy World” in the International Leadership Association Series which assembles thought leaders to reimagine leadership in building a healthy, sustainable, and equitable world.
Jean Dowdall had an academic career as a sociologist and college administrator, followed by work as a search consultant for universities seeking new presidents and other senior officers. She earned a bachelor’s degree and PhD at Brown University. She studied piano as a child at a community music school very much like SFCMC in New York City, and returned to piano in recent years with lessons at Community Music Center. In between, she has been a choral singer and board member with Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, and also served on the boards of several other arts and academic organizations.
Greg Eden is Vice President of Brand and Communications at Autodesk, a provider of design, engineering and entertainment software. Based in San Francisco, he leads a global team of nearly 100 marketing professionals, story tellers and creative artists focused on enhancing the company’s reputation and communicating with its many stakeholders around the world. Eden’s expertise in brand management and global communications is built on nearly two decades of related experience. Prior to joining Autodesk in 2010, Eden directed PR and communications organizations for technology leaders EMC, VMware and Dell. Eden holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in marketing communications from Emerson College.
Geoffrey Gallegos is a San Francisco native and sixth generation Californian. He is currently Music Director and Conductor of the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, the West County Winds and Golden Gate Opera all in the Bay Area. From 2003 to 2008, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra of Northern California. Maestro Gallegos has a deep commitment to music education. In 2001, he was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Golden Gate Philharmonic, an all-city youth string orchestra program based in San Francisco. From 2001 to 2010 he participated in the Artist in Residence program at the School of the Arts in San Francisco and during the 2000-01 academic year, Maestro Gallegos served as Conductor of the San Francisco State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. He has been a Guest Conductor of Orchestras at Cazadero Music Camp and he served as Coordinator of Instrumental Music at The Nueva School in Hillsborough where he oversaw the prestigious Menuhin/Dowling program and Young Musicians Competition. Maestro Gallegos holds a Bachelor of Music degree, with honors, in Instrumental Education and Conducting from San Francisco State University and a Master of Arts degree in orchestral and opera conducting, with High Distinction, from the University of Iowa School of Music. Since 2005, he has served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Community Music Center where he began his music studies with the trumpet at the age of nine.
Ron Gallman is the San Francisco Symphony’s Director of Education and Youth Orchestra. He oversees the Symphony’s education programs, which serve the spectrum of Bay Area communities and have been described as national models in educational and programming excellence. Gallman gives lectures and writes program notes for the SFS and arts organizations across the country. He has served on national and state arts panels, participated as a presenter in arts conferences nationwide, and serves on boards and committees of local, state, and national arts organizations.
Duncan Haberly is a serial entrepreneur, author, and recovering lawyer. He is a co-founder at The Meta, an eSports startup, and has been fortunate to be a part of the successes of Military.com, if(we), Instructables, and Objective Loyalty. Duncan firmly credits CMC with giving him the core music skills that prepared him to study in SF State University’s Music Department from 2011 to 2015. Duncan has a J.D. and B.A. from the University of Virginia and is a veteran of U.S. Army Military Intelligence.
Terri Kwiatek worked for Bank of America in leasing and equipment finance from 1978 to 2001. Prior to Bank of America, she worked for Continental Bank in commercial lending and economic research. Terri is on the Board of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California and is on the finance committee of the Headlands Center for the Arts. She knows nothing about music but loves the Community Music Center.
Cathi Kwon is a business and product designer specializing in new product development as well as an amateur violinist and CMC student. She currently leads Adobe’s Experience Design Studio team, an internal incubator that employs the scientific method, rapid prototyping, and design thinking to create new tools for Adobe. Earning her BA in Economics from Wellesley College, she took the rest of her credits in the art department and later received an MBA from Stanford. Through her experiences, she has become a firm believer in the transformative potential of arts education, and her past volunteer work includes mentoring with First Exposures and BayKids. She enjoys impromptu dance parties, karaoke, and live music.
Zachary Morfín, PhD, is an organizational consultant and works with boards of directors and executive teams in the areas of board performance and development, strategic innovation, and talent management. His consulting work spans the for-profit sector in consumer, food and beverage, financial, energy and utilities, as well as the non-profit sector in health care, performing arts, education, and philanthropy. Zach has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Organizational Psychology and received a B.A. in History and a B.M. in Piano Performance from Oberlin College and Conservatory. An accomplished pianist, he performs publicly, having given recitals recently at the Steinway Piano Gallery, with the UCSF Chamber Music Society, and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Richard Moss is an environmental attorney. He is a San Francisco native and nephew of Lev and Frances Shorr. Richard has had a life-long interest in music and is a devotee of chamber music and music of the 20th century. As a child, he came to hear concerts at Community Music Center.
David Swartz is a Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch. David previously served on the Board of Directors of Raphael House, a non-profit organization that provides services for homeless families in San Francisco. He also served for many years on the UCSF Foundation Investment Committee and was a Board member of the Sarasota Opera. David graduated from the University of Florida where he received his B.S. degree in Journalism and his MBA. As an undergraduate student, David played percussion in the University’s symphonic and marching bands. He currently is a drummer in a local rock cover band.
Diana Whitehead spent 30 years in the telecommunications and technology services industries. In addition to the Community Music Center, she serves on the boards of the Institute On Aging and the Salesian Boys and Girls Club. Diana enjoyed her music lessons as a child and has been a season ticket holder for the SF Symphony for over 30 years.
Maya Enriquez – CMC Alumna
Ruth Felt – President, SF Performances
David M. Lawrence
Fritz Maytag – Businessman
Lise Deschamps Ostwald – Pianist
Tregar Otton, Chair
Jennie Rodriguez – Executive Director, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
Jose Carrasco – Youth Services Manager, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center
Chelis Lopez – Host of radio shows “Andanzas” and “Pajaro Latino-Americano” on KPOO 89.5 fm