CMC on KDFC’s The State of the Arts

Jeffrey Freymann, host of Classical KDFC’s “The State of the Arts” visited Community Music Center’s Mission District Branch in April, and recorded this audio glimpse of CMC. Enjoy!

A look at the San Francisco Community Music Center’s branch in the mission, where students of all ages can take lessons and perform with ensembles.

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.

Thanks to Autodesk designer and CMC volunteer, Paul Fortin!

The artist behind Field Day at CMC

Last June, CMC took part in Autodesk’s Month of Impact and hosted a dream team of communications, social media, and branding volunteers for a day. Among them was Paul Fortin, Art Director at Autodesk. Paul has been with Autodesk for 16 years and is experienced in visual brand identity, graphic design, and event design.

As the volunteer team worked on a communications and social media plan for Field Day at CMC, our first-ever Performathon dedicated to our founder Gertrude Field, Paul sketched out a design that would become the event’s logo:

All of our Field Day communications, including posters, postcards, and digital media featured the logo. CMC received countless compliments on this fun, colorful design, which we look forward to sharing for many more Field Days.


Time for a Do Re Mi facelift

Paul’s passion for helping CMC was evident not only in the top-notch design work he did for us, but his continued volunteer support. He was only an email away when we asked him to help us design a logo for our Do Re Mi newsletter redesign. Since CMC doesn’t have a dedicated in-house designer, having a such a skilled volunteer is a huge help. Paul provided us with yet another lively and musical logo:

A big thanks to Paul and every CMC volunteer

A big thanks to Paul Fortin for making us look good! He turned our ideas into reality with logos that we love, and will use for years to come.

We truly appreciate the many volunteers who contribute to Community Music Center. Find out how you can get involved at CMC through our volunteer program.

CMC chamber group to perform at San Francisco Civic Music Association concert

A CMC chamber ensemble, coached by Coordinator Rachel Condry, was chosen by audition to perform at the San Francisco Civic Music Association’s “An Afternoon of Chamber Music” on Saturday, April 22. The musicians are all between the ages of 12-14, and are the only group in the Civic Chamber Concert Series featuring performers under 18 years old. In addition to Rachel’s coaching, they received coaching from a string player from SFCMA in preparation for their performance.

Saturday, April 22 at 3:00pm
An Afternoon of Chamber Music
Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez in San Francisco
Free (donations accepted)
Facebook event page

Samantha Friedland, flute
Alessandra Richardson-Beatty, violin
Sophia Lazara, cello

On the program:
Joseph Haydn – Hob IV:6 – Trio Op. 100 No. 1 in D major
Lucie Vellere – String Quartet 3
Felix Mendelssohn – String Octet, Op. 20


Participation in this concert series is such an honor, that I visited the group’s rehearsal last week to ask them a few questions about their work together and their upcoming performance. I’ve pulled some of my favorite answers from the group in the short interview below.


What drew you to chamber music?

“When I first heard chamber music, I loved hearing the different parts. I noticed that you could hear the individual parts more than you can when you’re listening to an orchestra.”

“I really like hearing other instruments. I like soloing, but I like hearing other instruments and the sounds blending together.”

“I like how the parts all come together so that what we produce is much bigger than an individual sound.”


How long have you all been playing together?

“Rachel put our group together in January of 2017. This is only our second performance together!”

“Now I know what to practice after hearing a recording of the last concert (our first ever).”


Any thoughts on the Haydn piece you’ll perform?

“We meet on Friday afternoons, and we all get this song stuck in our heads for the entire weekend!”

The group also shared that they like the conversational nature of the music and think it is cool to be able to connect to feelings in music that is over 250 years old.


Any last words to share?

“We highly recommend coming to this concert!”

“We also recommend the chamber music program at CMC!”

To learn more about CMC’s Chamber Music Program, visit our website:
Chamber Music for Youth
Chamber Music for Adults

CMC Presents the Premiere of “7×7,” a New Work by Rohan Krishnamurthy

Solo percussion piece inspired by the diverse and changing soundscapes of San Francisco

Sonia Caltvedt
Marketing Director, Community Music Center
415-647-6015 x75

SAN FRANCISCO, April 4, 2017 – On Saturday, April 29, San Francisco Community Music Center will premiere new work by Indian percussionist, educator, and composer, Rohan Krishnamurthy in its Mission District Concert Hall. “7 x 7” is a rhythmic composition for solo mridangam and is one of the first socially-inspired, programmatic works for south Indian percussion. The piece will be followed by new, cross-genre ideas that Krishnamurthy has developed with Prasant Radhakrishnan (saxophone), Colin Hogan (piano), and Ryan Andrews (drums).

The April 29 performance follows a series of free Indian Rhythm and Hand Drumming Workshops at CMC (see below for event details). The workshops and performance are a collaboration between Community Music Center and Rohan Krishnamurthy and are generously supported by a San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant.

About “7×7”
“7×7,” scored for solo mridangam, is inspired by the diverse and changing soundscapes of San Francisco. The piece draws on Krishnamurthy’s field recordings of the city’s diverse natural environments and neighborhoods, and conversations with San Francisco-based artists. An array of sounds from nature, the built environment, and people are evoked in three continuous movements. The soloist is challenged to push the boundaries of traditional, mathematical repertoire, strict timing, and conventional aesthetics, and explore new, experimental capacities, in both composed and improvised parts. The piece is composed so future performances can feature other percussion instruments and performers of different skill levels.

“7×7” combines representational depictions of soundscapes with musical development. Listeners might be reminded of the wind, waves, rain, cable cars, BART, footsteps, or construction sites. The sounds and the energy of The Women’s March also inspired the composer. On its own, “7×7” presents a spectrum of rhythms and textures that at times sound familiar and unfamiliar. Delve deeper into the soundscapes and you may hear layers of symbolism reflecting an undercurrent of tension and the relentless change that shapes our diverse society.

Event Information:

April 29, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Acclaimed Indian Percussionist, Rohan Krishnamurthy in Concert
CMC Concert Hall: 544 Capp St., San Francisco, CA 94110
$15/$10 students and seniors

April 29, 2017 from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Indian Rhythm and Hand Drumming Workshop with Rohan Krishnamurthy
CMC Concert Hall: 544 Capp St., San Francisco, CA 94110

About Community Music Center
Founded in 1921, San Francisco’s Community Music Center (CMC) is one of the oldest and largest community arts organizations on the West Coast. CMC makes high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of financial means. Last year, CMC served more than 2,400 students of all ages, ethnicities and income levels with music lessons, classes and other programs. Thousands enjoyed performances at CMC and out in the community. Learn more at and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


Artist Bios

Rohan Krishnamurthy 
Acclaimed an “international mridangam performer” by USA Today and “pride of India” by India’s leading newspaper, The Times of India, Rohan Krishnamurthy is considered a musical ambassador. Having initially received mridangam training with Damodaran Srinivasan in the U.S., he continued advanced training from maestro, Guruvayur Dorai, in India. Rohan has performed hundreds of concerts internationally since the age of nine as a distinguished soloist and collaborator in diverse music and dance ensembles. His prodigious, cross-genre artistry draws from his formal study of Indian classical music, at once propagating the ancient tradition and expanding it in new artistic directions.

Rohan has shared the stage with the leading artists of Indian classical music, including M. Balamuralikrishna, T.N. Krishnan, T.N. Seshagopalan, Chitravina N. Ravikiran, S. Shashank, T. M. Krishna, and Ranjani and Gayatri. Having intensely studied many styles of music, he has also spearheaded new cross-musical collaborations with eminent symphony orchestras, jazz ensembles, and musicians including Grammy Award-winners Glen Velez and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Anoushka Shankar, Jamey Haddad, and Ayano Ninomiya. He premiered Rohan, a concerto for South Indian percussion and Western percussion ensemble written for him by composer and percussionist, Payton Macdonald. The concerto was premiered on both coasts at The Juilliard School in New York City and San Francisco Conservatory of Music in San Francisco.

An acclaimed educator, Rohan has presented Indian percussion institutes and summer camps, clinics, workshops, and master classes, and academic courses at world-renowned institutions, including the Eastman School of Music, Harvard University, Berklee College of Music, University of Madras (India), A.R. Rehman’s K.M. Conservatory of Music (India), Society for Ethnomusicology, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Interlochen Arts Academy, and National Institute of Design (India). He teaches in the Music Department at Ohlone College and directs the award-winning RohanRhythm Percussion Studio, both in-person and online, which has attracted dozens of students of all ages from around the globe. Rohan is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including USA Today “All-College Academic Second Team,” “Young Artist of India” by Bharat Kalachar (India), Thomas Siwe Scholarship from the Percussive Arts Society, and “Prodigy in Performing Arts” by the Indo-American Center in New York City.

An innovator, Rohan designed and patented a new drumhead tuning system. His work resulted in a publication in the premier music journal, Percussive Notes, and was supported by the Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music Leadership. Rohan conducted acoustical research on his new design and has been regularly invited to present his work at the Acoustical Society of America’s international conferences. His design is now available worldwide. Committed to community service and outreach, Rohan has conducted and organized concerts and workshops for almost two decades at prominent centers, including the San Francisco Community Music Center, Oakland Roots International Academy, Chinmaya Mission, The Banyan (India), Sankara Nethralaya, Sankara Eye Foundation, and the Indo-American Cultural
Center and Temple.

Rohan’s multifaceted accomplishments as a performer, composer, educator, researcher, and entrepreneur earned him a one-on-one meeting and performance for the President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam, at the presidential office and estate in New Delhi. Based in San Francisco, Rohan earned a Ph.D. in musicology from the Eastman School of Music as a Provost Fellow, where he founded and directed a popular Indian percussion ensemble and summer institutes. He is excited to partner with the San Francisco Community Music Center on the new Hand Drumming and Indian Rhythm institutes for the Bay Area community. Learn more at

Ryan Andrews is a composer, producer, sound designer and performer based in Los Angeles. His work has been featured in the marketing campaigns of major blockbuster movies and video games such as Geostorm, Independence Day: Resurgence, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Furious 7 and the Call Of Duty series. A versatile performer, Ryan has worked internationally with stars across genres, including pop star Aloe Blacc, Iranian icon Dariush, jazz legend Fred Hersch and country phenom Frankie Ballard.

Born in Chicago and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Ryan and Rohan Krishnamurthy first collaborated in high school, culminating in several performances and the recording of the album Layopasana 2: Rhythmic Exploration. Ryan then received his Bachelor’s degree in jazz performance and Spanish from Western Michigan University and his Master’s in the prestigious Studio Jazz Writing program at the University of Miami, during which time he was mentored in composition by Lyle Mays of the Pat Metheny Group. While a student, Ryan was the recipient of eleven Downbeat Student Awards for his composition, performance, and production, and in 2012 was awarded the ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award. Ryan currently maintains a schedule balancing composition, performance and managing production at the boutique trailer music library Pitch Hammer Music, based in Los Angeles and Iceland.

Colin Hogan was born in San Francisco, CA. He was a member of the world-renowned Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble while also studying with the Jazzschool’s founder, Susan Muscarella. He then attended Cal State East Bay (Hayward) where he earned a BA in piano performance.

Colin has performed on five continents and has performed with many legendary jazz musicians including James Moody, Peter Erskine, Bob Brookmeyer, Roy Ayers, and Maria Schneider. In 2004 he performed with electric bass revolutionary Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone at the California Music Awards. Colin is currently involved in many projects including The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy, Dynamic, The Jazz Mafia, Trio Zincalo and The Hogan Brothers with brothers Steve and Julian. He has worked as a music educator at SFJAZZ, Longfellow Middle School, and The Community School of the East Bay, and is currently an instructor at Cal State East Bay and the California Jazz Conservatory.

Prasant Radhakrishnan is a versatile saxophonist steeped in both South Indian Classical (Carnatic) and jazz disciplines. The unique vocal texture of his sound on saxophone, noted for its expressive complexity and rhythmic ingenuity, reflects Prasant’s continued study of tradition, constant innovation, and vast concert experience over the past fifteen years. The foremost disciple of Carnatic saxophone pioneer, Kadri Gopalnath, Prasant’s collaborations with Rohan date back almost two decades when they met at music festivals and subsequently performed across the country and India. In parallel with his development as a Carnatic artist, Radhakrishnan immersed himself in American jazz, playing in the all-star bands in high school and going on to study jazz at the University of Southern California (2000-2004). After Prasant’s move to the Bay Area in 2005, he founded VidyA. VidyA has emerged with a soulful, penetrating sound that pushes the labels of “fusion” or “world music” by merging the virtuosity of jazz with the melodic and rhythmic nuance of Carnatic music. Named among the top jazz acts by the San Francisco Chronicle, VidyA’s style has been heralded as “..madly percussive and sparkling with…a saxophone that switches idioms from second to second, and a warm, quickly picked string bass. The result combines jazz’s sweet dreaminess with the Indian form’s insistent rhythmic and tonal changes…” (San Francisco Weekly).

Radhakrishnan has established himself as an exciting Bay Area artist known for blurring musical boundaries while steeped in traditional roots. His six year relationship with the San Francisco art space, Red Poppy Art House, has resulted in two artist residencies in 2007 and 2010 and groundbreaking musical collaborations such as Nefasha Ayer: The Space of In Between (with Ethiopian vocalist Meklit Hadero, guitarist and painter Todd Brown, jazz artists Marcus Shelby, Howard Wiley and poet Michael Warr among others) and Teobi’s Dream (a multi disciplinary project with Todd Brown at the de Young Museum). He has received grants from National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Sparkplug Foundation and SF Friends of Chamber Music for his
original work.

CMC’s 14th Annual Faculty Keyboard Marathon: Night Music

By Suzanne Korey

Last year the theme of our very successful Keyboard Marathon was Water Music, and one may wonder if all that beautiful music – from the Tempest Sonata to the Rains of Oregon – helped bring us all the rain, hail, and snow that we’ve received this year!

Our theme this year is Night Music, possibly a quieter, yet equally beautiful offering of music for our audience. We have a wide range of performers playing solo pieces, duets, and even a two piano, eight hands performance that will cap off the concert. The selections of music ranges from classical to jazz to original compositions.

The Keyboard Marathon is a beloved CMC institution, now in its 14th year. It is one of the few opportunities we have to gather members of the piano faculty and listen to the richness of the music, the diversity of taste and styles, and the quality of performance. It is a special afternoon that brings friends and family together in the CMC auditorium for music and celebration.

The Keyboard Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 23 at 3:00 pm in the CMC recital hall, at 544 Capp Street in San Francisco. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors, with tickets available at the door. A champagne reception follows the performance – we are fortunate to have a courtyard and often beautiful weather, that allows us to take the reception outside and celebrate the day.

This year’s performers are faculty members Lauren Cony, John Kyrk, Juliet McComas, Jennifer Peringer, Lilia Zheltova, Paul Dab, Erik Ian Walker, Betty Wong, Shirley Wong Frentzel, Jacqueline Chew, Allison Lovejoy, Christian Bonvin, Joe Willcockson, Paula Dreyer, and guest artists Grace Huenemann, Esther Chan and Annie Nalezny. Suzanne Korey, CMC piano student of Lauren Cony, is producing the performance.

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.