Some of our favorite neighborhood spots

May 18, 2023

Looking for the best burrito in the Mission, your next taste adventure in bubble tea, or world famous bread? We asked the CMC community about their favorite places in the neighborhoods near our campuses in the Mission and Richmond Districts. We received 80 superb recommendations for local businesses that serve everything from fancy coffee drinks, to West African Cuisine, to bánh mì, to gelato, to graphic novels, and many others!

When you visit a CMC campus, we encourage you to also support our neighbors.

Mission District Branch Neighborhood

Cafes and Drinks
Abanico Coffee
Atlas Cafe
Café de Olla
Grand Coffee
La Taza
Sidewalk Juice
Sisters Coffee Shop

Bissap Baobab
El Farolito
Gracias Madre
Jay’s Cheesesteak
La Corneta Taqueria
La Taqueria
La Traviata Restaurant
Los Panchos Restaurant
Media Noche
Mission Picnic
Mr. Pickle’s
San Jalisco
Taqueria Cancun
Udupi Palace

Bars and Nightlife
Alamo Draft House
Ivory & Vine
Latin American Club
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
Roxie Theater
The Chapel
The Makeout Room
Urban Putt

Bakeries and Sweets
Dragon City Bakery & Cafe
Fox and Lion Bread
La Copa Loca
Mission Minis

Duc Loi
Grocery Outlet
Valencia Whole Foods

The David Ireland House
Mission Cliffs
SF Public Library

Dog Eared Books
Mission Comics

Richmond District Branch Neighborhood

Cafes and Drinks
Cafe Enchante
La Promenade
Pacific Cafe
Purple Kow
Simple Pleasures

Balboa Teriyaki
Bella Trattoria
Burma Superstar
Chino’s Taqueria
Cielito Lindo
Eat Americana
Hamburger Haven
Kim Son Vietnamese Restaurant
Little Henry’s Italian Food
Mr. Bahn Mi
Ocean India Restaurant

Bakeries and Sweets
Butter Love
Devil’s Teeth Bakery
Schubert’s Bakery

Clement St. Farmer’s Market

Green Apple Bookstore

Congratulations 2023–2024 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 the jury heard dozens of youths play an extraordinarily diverse repertoire.

The jury wishes to thank everyone who help prepare students for the juries this year and to the many students who participated in the juries.

We are proud to announce the following students who will receive Merit Scholarships for private lessons during the 2023-2024 school year and the selected participants for the CMC All-School Recital.

Be sure to catch our Merit Scholars in action at the All-School Recital on Sunday, June 4th at 4pm at Sha’ar Zahav 290 Dolores St, San Francisco. Admission is free of charge.

Charlotte Ackerley Memorial Scholarship
Manhattan Liu, Student of Erik Pearson

Chevron Scholarship
Steven Liu, Student of Betty Wong

Bella and P.P. Chiu Memorial Scholarship Fund at CMC
Alexis Martinez, Student of Michael Long
Lindsay Perez, Student of Leo Baluk
Zen Wold, Student of Matylda Rotkiewicz
Bailin Li, Student of Sharon Wayne

Ruth and Martin Elsner Memorial Scholarships
Mike Lopez, Student of Omar Ledzama
Ziyan Zhang, Student of Lilia Zheltova

Gertrude Field Memorial Scholarship
Caroline Denmark, Student of Erik Pearson

Marian N. Ford Memorial Scholarship in Strings
Nayeli Barrera Alvarez, Student of Dorisiya Yosifova

Tyler Guge Memorial Scholarship
Angie Feng, Student of Grace Yu

Harold Haber Memorial Scholarship
Elaine Chen, Student of Christian Bonvin

Hilda Haber Memorial Scholarship in piano
Susanna Zhang, Student of Matylda Rotkiewicz

Koret Scholarship
Matthew Lu, Student of Sin-Tung Chiu

Ross McKee Memorial Scholarships in Piano
Maite Argote, Student of Grace Huenemann
Thompson Nguyen, Student of Paul McMath
Luciano Costa, Student of Erik Walker
Laura Chen, Student of Elyse Weakley
Emma Sophia Yambao, Student of Evelyn Davis

Alice Morini Memorial Scholarship
Matthew Lim, Student of Michael Long

Maurice, Helen, and Carl Shapiro Memorial Scholarship
Lucas Lan, Student of Joshua Saulle

The Shenson Foundation Scholarship
Haibo Gao, Student of Tregar Otton

Shorr Memorial Scholarship in Chamber Music
Jayden Li, Student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko

Gioia Taber Piano Scholarship
Kimberly Chen, Student of Grace Yu

Mrs. Paul L. Wattis Memorial Scholarship
Sophie Kuang, Student of Lilia Zheltova

Joan Wild Memorial Scholarships
Kelsey Wong, Student of Christian Bonvin

Joan Wild Memorial Scholarships
Jaden Liu, Student of Paul Dab

James Hunt Scholarship
Angelina Costa, Student of Jonathan Kornfeld

Ruth Lasky Memorial Scholarship Fund
Ashley Esmeralda Alvarado Zepeda, Student of Irene Chagall

Sid and Iris Frank Memorial Scholarship
Santolo Esposito, Student of David Steinberg

Linda Blacketer Memorial Scholarship
Vanely Abrego, Student of Martha Rodríguez-Salazar
Dylan Castillo, Student of Irene Chagall

Juliet McComas Memorial Scholarship
Emily Granina, Student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko

The Mae and Libby Scholarship Fund for Voice
Gina Gonzalez, Student of Martha Rodríguez-Salazar

The Mae and Libby Scholarship Fund for Piano
Christopher Yao, Student of Paul McMath

The ISOM Scholarship Fund
Alejandra Camila Murphy Talavera, Student of Evelyn Davis

Peter F. Ostwald M.D. Memorial Scholarship
Milan Pimentel, Student of Omar Ledzama

Reah Sadowsky Memorial Scholarship
Audrey Xu, Student of Deszon Claiborne
Alexander Ou, Student of Lilia Zheltova

Sarah S. Koss Memorial Scholarship
Gianna Li, Student of Sharon Wayne


Vanely Abrego, Student of Martha Rodríguez-Salazar
Maite Argote, Student of Grace Huenemann
Tiger Chen, Student of Dorisiya Yosifova
Laura Chen, Student of Elyse Weakley
Elaine Chen, Student of Christian Bonvin
Angelina Costa, Student of Jonathan Kornfeld
Santolo Esposito, Student of David Steinberg
Angie Feng, Student of Grace Yu
Haibo Gao, Student of Tregar Otton
Gina Gonzalez Cambambia, Student of Martha Rodriguez-Salazar
Jeremy Huang, Student of Sin-Tung Chiu
Jayden Li, Student of Tatyana Mikhaylenko
Karman Liang, Student of Sin-Tung Chiu
Steven Liu, Student of Betty Wong
Lindsay Perez, Student of Leo Baluk
Clementine Weidenbaum, Student of Paul Dab
Zen Wold, Student of Matylda Rotkiewicz

Learning to play jazz at CMC

April 21, 2023

The jazz program is a core component at CMC serving all levels from beginners to advanced. Students from a range of musical backgrounds and levels seek out the program to receive top-notch coaching from talented faculty members Erick Peralta, Charlie Gurke, and Max Miller-Loran. Students learn skills in improvisation, playing by ear, jazz theory, group playing, arrangement, composition, interpretation, performance, and technique. The jazz classes, whether beginning, intermediate, or advanced, provide not only the essential ingredients for learning  jazz, but also provide opportunities to apply skills in an ensemble setting catering to a variety of musical levels. The program focuses on diving deeply into repertoire, including bebop, Latin jazz, standards (Great American Songbook  and jazz composers), plus student and faculty written compositions. 

Other CMC programs not specifically dedicated to jazz cover jazz topics from time to time, such as The So-Called Revolution (Black Music Studies Program) with Maestro Curtis and Intro to Jazz Theory (Music Theory) with Jono Kornfeld. The new vocal class R&B Choir and More with Rita Lackey explores jazz repertoire for vocalists and Teen Jazz Orchestra with Marcus Shelby focuses on teenage musicians playing in a big band setting. 

Learn more about CMC’s jazz program at


Student voices from CMC jazz

Wen-Hao Lue

Wen-Hao has been taking classes at CMC since 2019 and has been studying jazz piano with Erick Peralta since 2020. He’s a member of the Advanced Jazz Ensemble, lead by Charlie Gurke, as a drummer. 

CMC has helped me meet other jazz musicians and has given me many opportunities to play music outside of class with fellow classmates. Many of the members of the Advanced Jazz Ensemble play a regular weekly jazz gig in the Mission at Ivory & Vine on Sunday afternoons!”




Stacy Mathies

Stacy has studied at CMC since 2015. She’s taken music theory, Beatles Ensemble, private guitar and voice lessons, and Embodiment & Expression class (now called Musical Expression & Injury Prevention). 

Charlie’s class [Jazz and Blues in the Aural Tradition] is the first jazz class I’ve taken at CMC. Learning to play songs by just listening (no charts allowed) is a fun challenge. The other students have been very supportive with me being a beginner at this process.”




The Peterson Family (Andy, Purple, and Annika)

Andy Peterson studied at CMC 20 years ago for a few years and returned to CMC in 2022. His daughter Purple (age 18) started at CMC a year ago and his other daughter Annika (age 18) just started with her first jazz class at CMC.

“It’s fun for us to be together in Charlie Gurke’s ensemble class Standards Ensemble II: The Jazz Composers. We get to do homework together learning songs, and if one of us needs to miss class, it’s easier to catch up. With three of us in class, we have to be careful to behave like we’re in a class, and not goofing around at home.”

Calling string, winds, and piano players to join CMC Chamber Music Ensembles

March 17, 2023

Whether you are an advanced beginner or an accomplished amateur musician, CMC’s chamber music program offers an opportunity to develop your musicianship and technique as well as the chance to play with others. Groups are composed of two to five students of compatible levels. Director Katrina Wreede works with students to match them with CMC faculty coaches and other students of similar level and musical interests to create well-matched groups to take ensemble playing to the next level. For Spring Quarter, which starts the first week of April, there are several preformed groups seeking additional players.

To inquire about a group, fill out the Chamber Music Inquiry Form and email Katie Wreede at

Spring Quarter Openings in CMC Chamber Music Ensembles

All ensembles are working with classical repertoire

Mission District Branch

Tuesdays, 7:00–8:00pm, Leo Baluk (coach): Seeking intermediate adult violin and/or viola
Wednesdays, 6:00–7:00pm, Jennifer Peringer (coach): Seeking advanced adult violin, viola, and/or cello
Wednesdays, 6:30–7:30pm, Michaela Overall (coach): Seeking intermediate adult piano, violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, and/or oboe
Wednesdays, 7:30–8:30pm, Michaela Overall (coach): Seeking advanced adult violin and/or cello.
Wednesdays, 7:00–8:00pm, Gloria Justen (coach): Seeking adult intermediate strings and/and piano
Wednesdays, 8:00–9:00pm, Gloria Justen (coach): Seeking adult advanced, strings and/and piano
Fridays, 5:15–6:15pm, Karlson Can (coach): Seeking youth, ages 10-13, intermediate violin, viola, cello, and/or piano
Fridays, 2:00–3:00pm, Shirley Wong Frentzel (coach): Seeking adult advanced violin and/or viola
Saturdays, 4:00–5:00pm, David Steinberg (coach): Seeking adult moderately advanced and advanced wind players for wind ensemble

Richmond District Branch

Fridays, 2:00–3:00pm, Ben Snellings (coach): Seeking advanced adult violin, viola, cello, and/or piano

Students enrolled in private lessons at CMC receive 50% discount.

A landmark moment: CMC students perform alongside the SF Symphony

February 17, 2023

A landmark moment

The performances of Gabriel Kahane’s emergency shelter intake form on February 2nd and 3rd were a milestone in the more than 100-year relationship between the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and CMC. It was the first time that CMC students have performed alongside the San Francisco Symphony in a regular season concert. The experience was profound and memorable for the CMC students, faculty, and staff.

As Annie Hochenauer from New Voices Area TIGQ Chorus said: “Singing with the San Francisco Symphony in unity and harmony with CMC colleagues and other local musicians was a wonderful, magical experience for me. During one rehearsal break leading up to the performances, Gabriel told us emergency shelter intake form was based on an ‘ethics of love,’ and I think you could hear that resonating in our collective voices.”

The SFS staff who partnered with CMC on this project have shared glowing reviews about the experience.

Laura Bergmann, Associate Director Advocacy & Community Engagement, had this to say: “The San Francisco Symphony was thrilled to expand on our longstanding partnership with Community Music Center on our recent performances. From the faculty and staff to the students, CMC is overflowing with kind, talented people committed to collaboration, curiosity and building community through music, and all of those values were on full display during the rehearsals and performances for this work. Bringing together a chorus of voices representative of our city, which included the Tenderloin-based Skywatchers Ensemble, had a profound impact. We are so grateful to everyone at CMC for their participation and more broadly for their overarching work here in San Francisco.”

A lasting partnership

SFS and CMC have been community partners for more than a century with the founding of SFS in 1911 and CMC in 1921. During this time, both organizations have developed in tandem, dedicated to lifelong enjoyment and access to great music coupled with a commitment to music education.

The bonds between SFS and CMC are supported through the service of Ron Gallman, SFS Director of Education and Youth Orchestra, on CMC’s Board of Directors since 1997. As Gallman shared: “Having a Symphony staff member on CMC’s board reaffirms our mutual bond and sense of purpose, and allows for synergies and opportunities in service to local schools and communities.” Gallman attended emergency shelter intake form and found the concerts ‘deeply moving’ and was “…so proud of CMC for participating in this important musical partnership.”

CMC faculty member Martha Rodríguez-Salazar has also been instrumental in connecting CMC to SFS through the years. For 16 years, Rodríguez-Salazar has been the art curator and musical advisor of the annual Symphony celebration of Día de los Muertos. She has included CMC programs in these celebrations on multiple occasions, including a recent appearance of MDYMP and the SFUSD Mariachi Program in the SFS Fiesta Día de los Muertos fundraising event. In emergency shelter intake form, she recruited CMC singers for a community chorus from the Older Adult Choirs, New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus, Anything Goes Chorus, Coro de Cámara, voice students, faculty, and staff. Rodríguez-Salazar also directed the community chorus, which included the Skywatchers ensemble, in preparation for the performances of emergency shelter intake form.

Rodríguez-Salazar shared: “Throughout the whole process, I felt deeply humbled by everyone’s willingness to become one voice and work together. It was very impactful for me to see all of the singers on stage performing with the San Francisco Symphony and see their names printed in their concert season program alongside international performers!

CMC thanks the San Francisco Symphony for their generosity in providing a welcoming and supportive environment for our students, faculty, and staff before and during the unforgettable experience of performing emergency shelter intake form.

To read more about emergency shelter intake form, Anh Lê (a member of the CMC Older Adult Choir Program and participant in emergency shelter intake form) wrote an article. Read it by following this link.


Edwin Outwater conducts the SF Symphony, Conrad Tao, Gabriel Kahane, Alicia Hall Moran, Kristen Toedtman, Holcombe Waller, Community Music Center Choir, and Skywatchers Ensemble in a performance of emergency shelter intake form at Davies Symphony Hall on Thursday, February 2, 2023. Photo credit: Kristen Loken.

MDYMP goes on tour

November 15, 2022
By Sylvia Sherman, Program Director

CMC’s Mission District Young Musicians Program was busy this fall with performances that commemorated Mission District culture and history, contributed to neighborhood school festivals, and celebrated Día de los Muertos.

MDYMP was joined at Paseo Artístico by MDYMP alumnus Rafael Cloerec (right).

On October 15, CMC participated in Acción Latina’s community art walk Paseo Artístico: “The 80’s Matter in the Mission”, honoring Latinx artists and activists of the 80s. The MDYMP musicians helped to kick off the day performing with original members from Los Peludos, Enrique Ramirez and Miguel Govea (MDYMP faculty member). Los Peludos was a group from the 1980s. Known for being outspoken about the social realities of the times, they addressed issues such as the U.S. interference with El Salvador with the song “Aqui no Sera” (“It Won’t Happen Here”). MDYMP students performed cumbias, Cuban music, and the original song “Paletero” created bythe students during CMC’s Centennial (Re)Imagine composition project. The performance of “Paletero,” a song about the Mission District and its diversity as reflected in the flavors of popsicles sold by the paleteros, was highlighted by the addition of MDYMP alumnus Rafael Cloarec, doing a spirited spoken word segment in Spanish, English, and French.

Later in October, MDYMP performed at the Buena Vista Horace Mann Fall Festival and the Alvarado Día de los Muertos Festival. Since MDYMP students have attended both Buena Vista Horace Mann and Alvarado, the invitation for MDYMP to perform was extended by parents who are active in the school PTAs. Both festivals were vibrant community celebrations with family participation and student involvement.

MDYMP at Alvarado Día de los Muertos Festival
Photo: Nieves Lopez Barrera

“We were delighted to have MDYMP perform. They were a great fit for the event and brought a lot of enjoyment to the community.” -Margo Hasselman Greenough, PTA President Alvarado Elementary

“I believe music connects cultures. Since Día de los Muertos is celebrated mostly in Mexico and some parts of Central and South America and Alvarado has an immersion program in Spanish, I thought MDYMP would be the perfect performer to inspire the younger audiences and potential future musicians.” -Nieves López Barrera, MDYMP and Alvarado parent

Finally, in early November, CMC Mariachi, a group comprised of MDYMP students, SFUSD Mariachi students, CMC faculty members Miguel Govea, Tregar Otton, Susan Peña, and guest artist René Peña Govea, performed for the SF Symphony’s ¡FIESTA! Día de los Muertos. The event was a donor party to support the SF Symphony’s education program and followed the Symphony’s Día de los Muertos concert. CMC Mariachi demonstrated the positive impacts of arts education with their performance, moving the audiences through the student and faculty collaborative performance.

CMC thanks MDYMP Program Coordinator Chantel Hernandez and all of its MDYMP faculty: Miguel Govea, Tregar Otton, Nena Aldaz, Charlie Gurke, and Juan Ceballos for the dedication to training young musicians, passing on Latinx culture, and preparing for these important community performances. CMC thanks MDYMP parents Julissa Winton and Nieves López Barrera, as well as Buena Vista Horace Mann and Alvarado school communities for their commitment to celebrating Latinx music and culture through their school events. Thanks also to Laura Knerler of the SF League for their work on the Symphony Fiesta.

More than music: Community Music Center builds skills for life

November 14, 2022

Recent Community Music Center graduate Chris Flores, 18, has had rich experiences in his time at CMC. Chris developed not only skills and maturity that come through dedicated musical study, but he built professional know-how as he built and repaired musical instruments in a CMC internship. Chris is taking his CMC experiences, both musical and vocational, to the University of the Pacific, where he recently started as a freshman.

“CMC is very community oriented – it’s in the name.” – Chris Flores

CMC first came into Chris’s life through the tuition-free Mission District Young Musicians Program (MDYMP). He had recently been accepted to San Francisco’s Ruth Asawa School of the Arts (SOTA) and needed to find private viola lessons to support his work there. MDYMP provided those lessons, along with ensemble classes and music theory, giving him a solid foundation to build on at SOTA.


“[Chris] was an absolute joy to teach. Because of his love for music and remarkable work ethic, he made quick progress: about as quick as I’ve ever seen.”– Michael Long, CMC Strings Faculty

Chris first studied with Michael Long, who taught him time management and goal setting, and then Chris worked with viola specialist Paul Espinosa. Michael and Paul helped Chris develop structures, habits, and communication styles he continues to implement in his studies and work outside CMC. MDYMP faculty gave Chris the opportunity to explore new genres and approaches to music-making. He also learned improvisation and soloing from MDYMP faculty member Tregar Otton.

“Chris is very curious and really loves music. Through his own volition, he made the program better for himself and the other students.” -Tregar Otton, MDYMP Faculty

Chris’s interest in learning about building and maintaining instruments started during his first year at SOTA on a field trip to visit two luthiers in San Francisco – Roland Feller Violin Makers and Jesse Maschmeyer Violins. He was inspired by what he saw and took matters into his own hands, asking Jesse Maschmeyer to teach him. After Chris demonstrated his dedication and commitment, Jesse agreed to teach Chris as part of a strings internship at CMC.

Throughout his internship, Chris developed professional skills he will use for years to come. In addition to learning how to fix and maintain instruments, he worked with CMC staff and faculty as colleagues introducing him to professional communication styles and giving him, as he says, “a glimpse into the adult world.” Chris plans to focus on health studies in college and is confident that the breadth of skills he developed during his internship will support the deeply interactive work he’ll be doing.

Chris impressed CMC colleagues with his dedication, motivation, and consistent communication. According to Sylvia Sherman, CMC’s Program Director, working with Chris has “opened up our thinking about a new pathway for leadership for CMC’s Young Musicians Program students.” All the staff and faculty who have worked with him over the years agree that his time at CMC has set him up for success wherever the future may take him.

When discussing his time at CMC, Chris shared how inspired he is by the organization’s focus on helping others in the community, especially those with low incomes. Said Chris, “CMC has helped me pursue my dreams. If I wasn’t at CMC, I don’t know where I would be. CMC gave me the tools and instruction I needed to stand amongst my SOTA peers, build my confidence, and learn skills I’ll use throughout my life.”

“Chris has been invaluable to the CMC team. He’s responsive, self-motivated, and kind. We’re so lucky to have him!” – Shannon Koehler, CMC Operations Manager


Support CMC’s life-changing mission of making music accessible to everyone! Donate at

Two new scholarships endowed in honor of longtime supporter Linda Blacketer

August 18, 2022

The Linda Blacketer Memorial Scholarships honor the life of longtime Community Music Center friend and supporter Linda Blacketer.

Dan Dodt, Linda’s loving husband, served on CMC’s board from 1995-2005 and was a fan-favorite scholarship auctioneer at our annual spring gala for many years. Linda joined Dan at the event each year and delighted in seeing the CMC Children’s Chorus perform onstage.

Linda was committed to serving CMC’s students, especially the young people who depended on our free programs and sliding-scale tuition to have access to lessons. CMC’s consistency in its dedication to the community spoke to Linda’s generous spirit and inspired her and Dan to donate yearly for three decades.

Linda and Dan had initially intended to leave CMC a significant gift as part of their estate plans, but when Linda passed away in 2021, Dan realized that seeing the impact of that gift in his lifetime would be an incredible tribute to Linda and her love of CMC, and making the gift during CMC’s Centennial Year could inspire broader financial support for CMC’s mission during this once-in-a-lifetime moment in the organization’s history.

Dan worked with CMC’s Development and Program teams to endow two new permanent scholarships, one for voice students and one for instrumental students, ensuring that more students would have access to lessons into the future without having to worry about whether their funding would be renewed.

How to contribute
If you would like to contribute to the Linda Blacketer Memorial Scholarship Fund, you can do so online (please select “Memorial Scholarship” as the designation and either list Linda Blacketer Memorial Scholarships in the comment section or check “Dedicate my donation in honor or memory of someone” and enter Linda’s name as the honoree) or by mail:

Please write a check to “Community Music Center” and state in the memo “Linda Blacketer Memorial Scholarships.”

Mail to:
Community Music Center
Development Office
544 Capp Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

About the Linda Blacketer Memorial Scholarships
Each year CMC awards the Linda Blacketer Memorial Scholarships to one voice student and one instrumental student. CMC faculty members nominate hard-working and passionate students to audition during our May juries. A panel of faculty and program staff adjudicate the juries and award scholarships considering both musical growth and financial need.

A CMC Merit Scholarship provides a full year of private lessons at CMC. The Linda Blacketer Memorial Scholarships were two of five newly endowed scholarships inaugurated in the 2022-2023 school year and are among the 39 merit scholarships awarded each year.

Encore! CMC Summer Rewind


Tune in to relive a selection of recent concerts and events featuring CMC faculty, students, and partners you may have missed! We’ll be sharing inspirational and educational concerts, workshops, and presentations to keep the music going all summer long. Watch these encores on our YouTube Channel.

Enjoy the following concerts and events, and stay tuned for more!


“A Song of Triumph: The History of Black Music” at Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Community Music Center, celebrating its Centennial, presents “A Song of Triumph: The History of Black Music,” a new work by Maestro Curtis, Ph.D, featuring Maestro Curtis Ph.D, the Curtis Family C-Notes, and special guests, including including Dorothy Morrison, Bishop James Adams, Juan Escovedo, Ken Little, Larry Douglas, Ricardo Scales, Tony Bolivar, J.R. Hall, Tina Bryant, Neil Stallings, and Kam Krzy. The concert was an extension of CMC’s Black Music Studies Program, offering a journey of  Black roots music and triumph through song, including hymns, field songs used to distract enslaved Africans from rigorous work, songs and culture created in the safe haven of the church, to music that the world enjoys today. Originally Premiered April 23, 2022. Read the program notes online here.

CMC Sessions: Traditions Moving Forward

Make musical discoveries with faculty from Community Music Center as they explore their methods, approaches, and creative practices in adapting musical traditions to inspire and guide the musicians of tomorrow. CMC Sessions: Traditions Moving Forward showcases the talents of faculty from the CMC Cultural Traditions and Piano Departments who represent diverse classical and non-classical traditions in workshops and presentations. The online workshops will use video, audio, and lecture-demonstrations to illustrate the faculty members’ influences and the musical education that shaped them, highlighting how their traditions impact their teaching and performing at CMC. Their personal stories illustrate the breadth of talent and creativity in CMC’s faculty.

Relive presentations and performances by these talented and inspiring faculty:

  • Jennifer Peringer A CMC Teacher’s Musical Journey of Multicultural Explorations, Creative Expression, and Community Engagement
  • Larry Dunn How Jump Swing Influenced My Music Making
  • Tregar Otton Classical Foundations, Popular and Traditional Performance and Pedagogy
  • Omar Ledezma Jr. The Music of Pacific Mambo Orchestra: A Percussionist’s Perspective
  • Jon Jang One Day American, One Day Alien: Black & Brown Artists Who Made the National Anthem Their Own
  • Joshua Saulle Vocal Traditions and Choral Innovations
  • Lilia Zheltova Traditions of the Russian Piano School and Their Implementation in Today’s American Teaching
  • Michaela Overall Teaching and Supporting the Neurodiverse Piano Student
  • Martha Rodríguez-Salazar Bridging Cultures and Creating Communities: How My Binational Experience Shaped My Musical Perspectives.

Juliet McComas Keyboard Marathon: “Music of the Americas”

In its 18th year, the Juliet McComas Keyboard Marathon celebrates the richness of the piano repertoire through a different thematic lens each year.  “Music of the Americas” shocases fifteen Community Music Center faculty artists performing nineteen American, Latinx, and African-American composers representing wide-ranging periods and styles. Bay Area composers Jon Jang, Bruce Nalezny, and Betty Wong are featured along with Barber, Bolcom, Bonds, Byron, Cervantes, Dett, Gardel, Gershwin, Ginastera, Glass, Guinga, Lecuona, Piazzola, Ponce, Price, and Villa-Lobos. Come hear your favorites and discover some new ones, as you enjoy a unique look into the vast repertoire of American music! This year, the event was held as part of the Old First Concerts series, origianlly performed May 1, 2022.

Featuring performances by CMC Piano Faculty and special guests:

Christian Bonvin, Esther Chan, Jaqueline Chew, Marco Diaz, Grace Huenemann, Jon Jang, Allison Lovejoy, Annie Nalezny, Michaela Overall, Erick Peralta, Jennifer Peringer, Matylda Rotkiewicz, Betty Wong, Shirley Wong-Frentzel, and Lilia Zheltova

With music by:

Samuel Barber, William Bolcom, Margaret Bonds, Don Byron, Ignacio Cervantes, Nathaniel Dett, Carlos Gardel, George Gershwin, Alberto Ginastera, Philip Glass, Guinga, Jon Jang, Ernesto Lecuona, Alfredo Le Pera, Bruce Nalezny, Astor Piazzolla, Manuel Ponce, Florence Price, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Betty Wong.

Read the program notes here

All School-Recital 2022

The All-School Recital is an annual favorite, recognizing exceptional CMC students of all ages and levels in an afternoon of performances. The event often features CMC students who also receive Merit Scholarships. This year, the All-School Recital was held on Sunday, June 5 in CMC’s Concert Hall. Students and families had not participated in the event since 2019, so the day was extra special. There were 19 CMC students who performed works on a variety of instruments from across genres including old-time, classical, ragtime, and mariachi.

Watch the All-School Recital Playlist

Field Day 2022 Performathon

Field Day is CMC’s annual celebration of music, community raising money for CMC scholarships and honoring the visionary founding director behind CMC, Gertrude Field. Field Day 2022 honored CMC’s Centennial with a spectacular in-person performathon, plus a two-day virtual performathon. Our students, faculty, and community shined on stage with a wide variety of musical styles from around the world and across the centuries, from soloists to “super choirs.”  Watch our Field Day 2022 playlist to relive highlights from our in-person performances, as well as re-watch the virtual performathon livestreams.Special thanks to our special guest emcees at our in-person performathon: Chasta (107.7 The Bone) and Paul “Paulie Mac” McCaffrey (KNBR Radio) for joining in the CMC enthusiasm.

Watch the Field Day 2022 Playlist

Stay tuned for more incredible community performances to be released!

A triumphant song for equality: An interview with Maestro Curtis

March 17, 2022

As part of our centennial celebrations, CMC is proud to present the world premiere of a commissioned new work by acclaimed composer-performer and longtime faculty member Maestro Curtis, PhD on April 23 at 1 pm as part of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. The premiere of Curtis’ “A Song of Triumph: The History of Black Music” will feature Maestro Curtis PhD, The Curtis Family C-Notes and special guests, including Dorothy Morrison, Bishop James Adams, Juan Escovedo, Pastor Harold Gordon, Ken Little, Larry Douglas, Ricardo Scales, Tony Bolivar, J.R. Hall, Tina Bryant, and Neil Stallings. (Learn more about the guest artists below.) The commission and premiere are an extension of CMC’s Black Music Studies Program.

A Song of Triumph: The History of Black Music
Saturday, April 23 at 1pm
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
760 Howard St, San Francisco

“This is a celebration of real American history, love, respect, and the contributions of American Black culture, which has impacted the world and crossed all ethnic and color lines,” said Curtis.

Curtis describes the works as “a symphonic musical opera about the journey of the descendants of slaves, who we identify as Black Americans.” Concert goers will experience storytelling through music about historical periods in Black American history in “A Song of Triumph.” According to Curtis, the underlying themes of this composition will encapsulate both the pain and the beauty of the Black American experience. From the tremendous suffering of slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights struggles, and into today’s racial justice movement, “A Song of Triumph” is a celebration of the remarkable beauty that Black Americans have given to the music world through the transmutation of this pain.

As Curtis said, “Field songs and spirituals that came from the invisible church— gave birth to the blues, barbershop, gospel, a new church and style of praise, jazz, country, early bluegrass, folk, rock and roll, RnB, funk, reggae and hip hop, bringing an artistic expression, beauty and genius to the entire world.”

In talking about the title of the composition, Curtis shared, “The song of triumph is the soundtrack of our lives–a conversation of moving the needle towards equality. Maybe we move the needle a little bit, but we still have a long way to go. We must move triumphantly towards that goal of equality, making sure that people are treated with dignity, regardless of race, creed, color, gender, or whatever you want to apply.”

A note about the special guest musicians who are a star-studded group with remarkable credits: 

Dorothy Morrison (Grammy Award winning singer of “Oh Happy Day,” Edwin Hawkins Singers, toured/recorded with Huey Lewis and the News), Bishop James Adams (activist, evangelist, and pastor), Juan Escovedo (of the famous E Family: Sheila E., Papa Pete Escovedo, and Peter Michael Escovedo), Pastor Harold Gordon (of the famed San Francisco civil rights institution Jones Memorial United Methodist Church with members such as Mayor Willie Brown and Johnny Mathis), Ken Little (played with gospel legends James Cleveland, James Carr, Tim Toston, performed at the Gospel Music Workshop of America, music producer, composer, and choir director), Larry Douglas (long time Bay Area music educator, music director for Johnny Otis and Shugie Otis, Ray Charles, and many more), legendary Ricardo Scales (concert pianist, composer, and music producer, has played for celebrities, and dignitaries from all over the world, including five American presidents, known as the Bay Area’s “Black Liberace”), Tony Bolivar (activist, professor, music minister, creator of Dream Achievers [an ensemble of musicians with Autism touring the U.S. and internationally], also performed with the likes of Andraé Crouch and Alvin Slaughter), J.R. Hall (from the famed Edwin & Walter Hawkins Singers, has  performed gospel music in the biggest arenas in the world), Tina Bryant (composer, producer, singer, pianist, played on programs with Kirk Franklin, John P. Kee, Daryl Coley, Hezekiah Walker, Ed Kelly, the Oakland Symphony, Bobby Jones, and many more), and legendary Bay Area guitarist Neil Stallings (performed and toured with King Floyd, The Four Tops, Albert Collins, Big Mama Thornton, Sly Stone, and The Platters, to name a few).