November 18, 2021
Erick Peralta, pianist and CMC faculty member (Beginning Jazz Ensemble/piano), found his musical home at CMC at a young age. He grew up in the Mission District under the creative influence of his father, who was the bandleader of a salsa band. Erick would attend rehearsals when he was as young as three, where he would sit on his dad’s lap at the piano. Not surprisingly, Erick showed musical promise early on. Pianist, trumpeter, and CMC faculty member Marco Diaz was in his father’s band at the time and was also a CMC student. He recommended that Erick study music at CMC.
As a six-year-old, Erick started with Music for Children, and after one class it was clear that he was ready for private piano lessons. He studied classical music at CMC from age six to 12, and again later in his teens. Erick credits CMC with his foundations in technique and theory.
“CMC was a wonderful opportunity for me,” said Erick. “It provided me with what I needed at the time, which was musical education and accessibility. There’s nothing like it.”
He left the piano for a few years, but came back to it. This time, he explored other genres, such as popular, jazz, and Latin, and began playing professionally. After high school, Erick studied biology and nursing at USF, but his heart wasn’t in it. He took some time off to play music, and was encouraged to apply to the Berklee School of Music where he got a scholarship.
On a summer break, when Erick was performing at Mission Carnaval, Sylvia Sherman, CMC Program Director, saw him play. When she learned Erick was a former CMC student, she suggested he stay connected to CMC, which he did after college. Erick found his way back to CMC when he applied to teach on the piano faculty and was hired in 2016.
Erick loves the diversity of the students he teaches and enjoys sharing musical knowledge. He sees the many benefits of CMC’s programming.
As Erick said: “I see a lot of youth come through CMC. Not only do the students of today get the musical side of things, but also a sense of home and a support system. It feels like a home to me, not only musically, but how it fits into the Mission District community.”
Peralta has performed with multi-Grammy winners Luis Enrique, Susana Baca, and Alejandro Sanz. Along with performing, Erick composes and arranges jazz, pop, and Latin music.