February 8, 2017

A Short History of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is known as one of the top music conservatories in the United States. Tomoko studied there, and has been teaching there ever since she graduated from the conservatory.  This year the San Francisco Conservatory of Music celebrating its one hundredth year.  And what a history it is.

The conservatory started as the Ada Clement Piano School in a remodelled home at 3435 Sacramento Street near the Presidio in San Francisco. In only six years the school became incorporated as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and expanded its curriculum to include orchestral instruments, voice, theory, and composition. After World War II faculty chamber ensembles became more reknown. The Griller Quarter offered summer courses, and the Alma Trio offered a summer residence program. Tomoko studied with the Almo Trio's pianist Adolph Baller.

In 1956 the conservatory moved to 1201 Ortega Street in San Francisco’s Sunset area. The conservatory  was a single story Mission-style building with a lovely landscaped courtyard. Furthering its reputation, the conservatory was the first West Coast music school to be regionally and nationally accredited. It was during that Tomoko that made her first mark. 

By the 21st century the conservatory had again outgrown its facility, not only because of its curriculum but also because of its festivals and special concerts. In addition, the conversatory wanted to be located closer to the cultural part of the city. Therefore, they relocated to the present site at 50 Oak Street, which includes three state-of-the-art performance spaces. Tomoko’s teaching studio there has two grand pianos, and she has donated personal artifacts to their archive collection. As for the Ortega building, it became the facility for the Alliance Francaise School.

Throughout the conservatory’s existence it has provided a rigorous learning environment – and the start for hundreds of musicians in spirit and performance.

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