CMC Joins Flower Piano with a dozen pianos in SF Botanical Gardens

September 16, 2022
KTVU Fox 2
Flower Piano event puts a dozen pianos in SF Botanical Gardens

The beauty of the SF Botanical Gardens usually isn’t measured in notes, but this is the seventh Flower Piano weekend, when people can marvel at flowers and plants mixed in with music and pianos.

“There are 12 pianos throughout our 55 acres, and they’re everywhere from the great meadow to the redwood grove,” said Stephanie Linder, Executive Director of the San Francisco Botanical Gardens Society which partners with sponsors and Sunset Piano to hold the event.

Meandering along the garden paths, people hear melodies floating from the ferns and forests.

From classical music pieces penned by Beethoven, to jazz, to songs by the Beatles or Lady Gaga, there were plenty of choices for the audience.

Professional musicians with the Community Music Center, SF Jazz, and SF Symphony have all partnered with the Flower Piano program. There are also impromptu performances by passersby.

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More about Community Music Center’s Flower Piano 2022 Events

Latin Jazz Kick-Off with Eduardo Corzo and Friends (clip included in video segment)
Friday, September 16, 2022
4:00–5:30pm, Great Meadow

The Neo-Creolism of the Peruvian Piano with Erick Peralta
Monday, September 19, 2022
2:00–3:00pm, Celebration Garden

Celebrating Black Music History at SF Community Music Center

April 18, 2022
San Francisco Classical Voice
Lou Fancher
Celebrating Black Music History at SF Community Music Center

It’s the rare centenarian organization that is as vital and forward-looking as the San Francisco Community Music Center. Founded by Gertrude Field in 1921 with the mission of making music accessible to all people through low or no-cost music lessons and concerts, the CMC is making a larger impact on the Bay Area now, with a greater diversity of programming, as detailed in SFCV’s recent feature.

While continuing to offer a vast array of opportunities for people of all ages, a new Black Music Studies Program and a recommitment to listening to the community are harbingers of the directions the organization will pursue as it enters a second century in operation. Inclusion is not a new word for the CMC: In 1945, its board of directors furthered Field’s humanitarian vision by establishing a hiring process that sought the best instructors, regardless of race.

CMC Executive Director Julie Rulyak Steinberg, in an interview, says, “Community has so many meanings to consider: cultural identity, geography, like-mindedness, generational roots, deeply held values — the list goes on. This kind of multifaceted thinking is always key to the ways in which we seek to reach the various communities we serve through the development of CMC’s programming. When CMC considers how we will frame and prioritize community in our next 100 years, we are finding new ways to listen to those around us, inviting and uplifting diverse voices that reflect a community’s needs and experiences to create music programming and creative work, and expanding our thinking about what role music and the arts can play for our students and teachers beyond traditional teaching and performance.”

Her statement mirrors that of many arts organizations, until she adds, “If we have learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that the arts are a listening tool, a tool of justice, and a way for people to connect to something that is deeply nourishing for individuals and communities.”

Composer, musician, and music scholar Maestro Curtis leads the tuition-free online Black Music Studies Program series of courses he teaches with his wife Nola Curtis, an established and recognized vocalist, musician, teacher, dancer/choreographer, and the accompanist for the CMC Older Adult Choirs. About developing and leading the program, Curtis says, “As a direct descendant of African slaves on both sides of my family, it is a legacy and an honor to be in a position to tell the story and the history of Black music from a Black perspective. The Community Music Center has respected my experience and has allowed me to display, from my perspective, what Black humanity has given to the world and to the music world.”

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Additional press for Maestro Curtis’ A Song of Triumph: The History of Black Music centennial commission:

April 20, 2022
KALW
“On the Arts” with David Latulippe
Maestro Curtis, “A Song of Triumph: The History of Black Music”

 

To mark its centennial, S.F. Community Music Center will send out 100 musical seedlings

April 1, 2022
San Francisco Chronicle Datebook
Joshua Kosman
To mark its centennial, S.F. Community Music Center will send out 100 musical seedlings

What could be more inviting than getting a video infusion of new music in your email inbox every morning? Well, what about two?

As part of its ongoing centennial celebrations, San Francisco Community Music Center is about to launch “(Re)Imagine,” a multi-week collaboration with Oakland composer, performer and music teacher Cava Menzies. To match the school’s 100 years as a center for low-cost, accessible music education, Menzies plans to send out 100 short music videos — two or three minutes apiece — featuring her original collaborations with students and faculty of the school, and with musical colleagues from around the world.

The plan is for them to roll out, two at a time, for 50 days, beginning Monday, April 4. (You can sign up to receive the videos on the school’s website.)

The videos, Menzies told The Chronicle during a recent video interview, are “very raw and real” — an attempt to capture the lives of her and her musical partners as they currently are. Some were created remotely on Zoom, using the software that has become ubiquitous during the pandemic shutdown; others feature Menzies and a student in the same room, working through musical material together.

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Additional press for (Re)Imagine: 100 New Works From Cava Menzies and Community Music Center:

April 5, 2022
Bay City News
Georgia Rowe
Appeared on SF Gate
Celebrating 100 Years Of SF’s Community Music Center With 100 New Works That Tackle Very 2022 Issues

May 12, 2022
KALW
“On the Arts” with David Latulippe
San Francisco Community Music Center: Cava Menzies & Sylvia Sherman

 

Community Music Center’s Centennial Gala Makes Headlines

February 28, 2022
San Francisco Examiner
James Ambroff-Tahan
Community Music Center celebrates 100 years with a concert on steroids

February 28, 2022
San Francisco Chronicle Datebook Pick
Tony Bravo
Community Music Center’s Centennial Gala

April 8, 2022
Nob Hill Gazette
Catherine Bigelow
Parties: Centennial Sounds

San Francisco’s leading performers, arts leaders and educators came together Wednesday, March 2 at San Francisco’s historic Julia Morgan Ballroom, to celebrate the Community Music Center’s centennial and honor Roselyne Chroman Swig, Betty Wong, Shirley Wong-Frentzel and Cecilia Peña-Govea (La Doña) with the Gertrude Field Community Impact Awards. Gala Chair Sharon Seto, Centennial Chair Fred Levin and Honorary Chair Ellen Magnin Newman and committee members produced an evening-to remember featuring dinner and performances by some of the Bay Area’s leading artistsin celebration of CMC’s historic legacy providing a century of music for everyone as it looks forward to the next century of arts access supporting CMC’s mission to make high-quality music education accessible to all people, regardless of financial means.

Featured guests artists: Trumpeter, bandleader, composer, educator and activist Sean Jones; tenor Pene Pati and soprano Amina EdrisAlexander String Quartet, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and composer-pianist Jake Heggie, percussionist John Santos, guitarist Jason Vieaux and jazz and cabaret singer Paula WestRenel Brooks-Moon sparkled as Master of Ceremonies alongside Greg Quiroga, auctioneer. Click here for more information about the gala guest artists.

CMC Faculty and Students among Yerba Buena Gardens Festival’s 2022 lineup

April 6, 2022
San Francisco Chronicle Datebook
Lily Janiak
Paula West, Marcus Shelby among Yerba Buena Gardens Festival’s 2022 lineup

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, the 22-year-old free event series (and CMC partners), is returning to its eponymous South of Market city park on May 7, which kicks off six months of weekly programming in music, dance, theater and more.

The outdoor event’s lineup, announced Wednesday, April 6, also includes Bay Area favorites such as veteran jazz contralto Paula West and San Francisco bassist and composer Marcus Shelby (CMC Teen Jazz Orchestra director), along with a spate of world premieres including Shelby’s Blues in the City with the Marcus Shelby New Orchestra.

“The festival is proud to commission new musical and performance programs specifically designed for the Gardens,” Linda Lucero, the festival’s executive and artistic director, said in a statement.

Included in the Festival programming are performances by CMC’s New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus, and a world premiere celebrating the CMC Centennial, A Song of Triumph: The History of Black Music a new work by faculty member Maestro Curtis, featuring Maestro Curtis Ph.D, the Curtis Family C-Notes and special guests.

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100-Year-Old SF Community Music Center Breaks Ground on New Building

Feb. 15, 2022
KQED
Chloe Veltman
100-Year-Old SF Community Music Center Breaks Ground on New Building

The San Francisco Community Music Center (CMC) is breaking ground Wednesday on a new building next door to its existing facility on Capp Street in The Mission.

Julie Rulyak Steinberg, executive director of the 100-year-old non-profit, says the expansion will almost double the number of students CMC serves, which currently stands at around 3,000.

“We have been short of space for about 30 years,” says Steinberg. “For us to be able to to continue to say we serve everyone, that’s really a high priority for us.”

The new building at 552 Capp Street will add soundproofed classroom and performance spaces as well as increase ADA accessibility. “We expect to welcome over a thousand new students to our expanded Mission campus,” Steinberg says.

CMC purchased the new building 10 years ago. Steinberg says it will cost around $15 million to renovate, of which around $13 million has already been raised through philanthropy and market tax credit financing. The building is scheduled to open next February, capping a year of centennial celebrations for the organization which also includes musical commissions and performances.

 
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Community Music Center celebrates 100 years with a concert on steroids

Feb. 28, 2022
San Francisco Examiner
James Ambroff-Tahan
Community Music Center celebrates 100 years with a concert on steroids

For 100 years now, San Francisco’s Community Music Center has stood out for its mission of making music accessible for all people, regardless of financial means. It has offered classes tuition-free or on a sliding scale taught by local talents in Latin, jazz, blues, Middle Eastern and string orchestra, serving 3,000 student annually.

On Wednesday evening, CMC will celebrate its centennial with a benefit gala and concert of star performing artists at the Julia Morgan Ballroom. Performers include mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, tenor Pene Pati, soprano Amina Edris, contralto Paula West, pianist Jake Heggie, guitarist Jason Vieaux, trumpeter Sean Jones, the Marcus Shelby Trio, the Alexander String Quartet and percussionist John Santos.

“Everybody who is performing has been a part of our mission, whether they have worked with our students, done concerts here for free or done master classes,” said CMC Executive Director Julie Rulyak Steinberg of the gala. “We thought, ‘What if we had a CMC recital on steroids?’”

CMC is growing in physical size and number of students served. In February, the nonprofit broke ground on an expansion of its main Mission District Branch at 552 Capp St. — there’s also a campus in the Richmond District at 741 30th Ave. — which will allow CMC to teach music to 1,000 more students.

“There is a struggle between wanting to grow profitably and reaching more folks,” Steinberg said. “We are lucky to have a huge resource of really talented teachers and people working with us; but for us, it’s about capacity and space. CMC has been so constrained by how much space and financial resources we have available.”

 
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CMC’s Centennial Gala: Diverse Artists Join to Benefit Music Access and Honor Community Impact

Download full press release

COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER MARCH 2 CENTENNIAL GALA TO HONOR ROSELYNE CHROMAN SWIG, BETTY WONG, SHIRLEY WONG-FRENTZEL AND LA DOÑA

GUEST ARTISTS INCLUDE SEAN JONES, PENE PATI, AMINA EDRIS, ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET, FREDERICA VON STADE, JAKE HEGGIE, JOHN SANTOS, JASON VIEAUX AND PAULA WEST


PERFORMANCES, DINNER AND AUCTION BENEFIT COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER’S DIVERSE PROGRAMS

San Francisco, January 13, 2022—San Francisco’s leading performers, arts leaders and educators will come together Wednesday, March 2, to celebrate the Community Music Center’s centennial and honor Roselyne Chroman Swig, Betty Wong, Shirley Wong-Frentzel and La Doña with the Gertrude Field Community Impact Awards. Gala Chair Sharon Seto, Centennial Chair Fred Levin and Honorary Chair Ellen Magnin Newman and committee members have planned an evening featuring dinner and performances by some of the Bay Area’s leading artists. An online auction of one-of-a-kind items and packages will be open to all February 25 through March 5. The Centennial Gala celebrates CMC’s historic legacy providing a century of music for everyone as it looks forward to the next century of arts access. All proceeds support CMC’s mission to make high-quality music education accessible to all people, regardless of financial means. The evening begins at 6 pm at The Julia Morgan Ballroom, 465 California Street in San Francisco. Tickets, beginning at $500 and sponsorships beginning at $2,500 may be purchased at https://CMC100.givesmart.com

“The Community Music Center is a treasure in our city, and is 100 years strong. I am thrilled to be chairing this event, which will help to provide music scholarships for thousands of local students with financial need,” says Gala Chair Sharon Seto. “The event we’re planning to celebrate this momentous occasion is going to be the hottest ticket in town. The honorees and entertainment are top-notch, so please join us—this will be an unforgettable night!”

Guest Artists Trumpeter, bandleader, composer, educator and activist Sean Jones; tenor Pene Pati and soprano Amina Edris; Alexander String Quartet, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and composer-pianist Jake Heggie, percussionist John Santos, guitarist Jason Vieaux and jazz and cabaret singer Paula West. Renel Brooks-Moon will be Master of Ceremonies and Greg Quiroga will be auctioneer. Click here for more information about the gala guest artists.

Honorary Committee Marcia and George Argyris, JD Beltran, San Francisco Arts Commission; Jim Callahan, Piedmont Piano; Yanek and Mary Chiu; Janet Cluff, Ramón Cortines, Tom DeCaigny, Ruth A. Felt, Matt Haney, Dr. Elizabeth L. Hillman, President, Mills College; Dorka Keehn, San Francisco Arts Commission; Jean Kellogg, Merola Opera Program; Patricia Taylor Lee, Fred Levin, Linda Lucero, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival; Honorable Rafael Mandelman, Garrick Ohlsson and Bob Guter, Carlos Ortega, Helen Hilton Raiser, Hillary Ronen, Stephen Shapiro and Ellen Rosenthal, Melanie Smith, San Francisco Performances; Catherine Stefani, Shamann Walton and Diane B. Wilsey

Event Committee Sharon Seto, Chair; Kathy Aizawa, Katie Colendich, Nicole Cooper, Pamela Culp, Tim Eischens, Lauren Erickson, Joel Goodrich, Lin Hoffman, Esq., Brooke Joseph, Ludmila Kisseleva, Patricia Taylor Lee, Sharon Litsky, Ann Ludwig, Irena Matijas, Trisha Mount, Russell Martinelli, Amanda Sargisson, Yuan Yuan Tan, Diana Whitehead and Diana Wild Centennial Sponsors Platinum Sponsors: Dan Dodt, in memory of Linda Kay Blacketer; Gold Sponsors: Cathi Kwon; Fred Levin, The Shenson Foundation; Oak Hill Capital Corporation; Silver Sponsors: Barbara Kosnar and Thomas Goldman, Diane B. Wilsey; Bronze Sponsors: Katherine and Roy Bukstein, Yee-Wan and John Stevens

Event Sponsors Media Sponsor: The Nob Hill Gazette; Wine Sponsor: Miner Family Winery

For questions about sponsorship, contact Elenka Refsell at 415-647-6015 x178 or erefsell@sfcmc.org.

About Community Music Center Community Music Center (CMC) is celebrating 100 years of music for everyone! A nonprofit music school and performance space with branches in the Mission and Richmond Districts, CMC provides high-quality music to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, regardless of financial means. Last year, CMC awarded nearly $2.8M in tuition assistance, serving more than 2,800 students. The school offers online and in-person music lessons and classes on over 30 instruments, and a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, blues, Latin, pop, folk, rock, and western classical. CMC also presents free and low cost events, workshops, and master classes for its students and for the public. Learn more about the CMC Centennial celebrations at sfcmc100.org.

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A Message of Solidarity from CMC

Community Music Center was founded nearly 100 years ago with the desire to bring together a diverse and vibrant community through the unifying power of music.

Racism has no place in our community. We denounce violence against black, brown, and indigenous people. We stand in solidarity with the black community in calling for justice in the murder of George Floyd, and the ongoing acts of brutality against committed against this community every day.

We will listen to, support, and amplify the voices of marginalized communities who are suffering. We are committed to bringing marginalized voices to the forefront of our organization.

We will share music as a powerful tool of personal and communal expression—of grief, justice, and hope.

We must stand together to make a change for the future, for our children, and for our world.