San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Coordinates: 37°46′32″N 122°25′13″W / 37.77556°N 122.42028°W / 37.77556; -122.42028
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San Francisco Conservatory of Music
A modern 12-story building with a white facade
The SFCM's Bowes Center building in 2022
Former name
Ada Clement Piano School
TypePrivate music conservatory
FoundersAda Clement, Lillian Hodgehead
Endowment43,498,000[citation needed]
PresidentDavid H. Stull
DeanJonas Wright
Students480 (2021)[1]
San Francisco, California

37°46′32″N 122°25′13″W / 37.77556°N 122.42028°W / 37.77556; -122.42028
Colors   Raspberry and gold [2]

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) is a private music conservatory in San Francisco, California. As of 2021, it had 480 students.[1]


The Oak Street building in 2017 (fisheye perspective)

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music was founded in 1917 by Ada Clement and Lillian Hodghead as the Ada Clement Piano School.[citation needed] In 1923, the name was changed to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 1956 the Conservatory moved from Sacramento Street to 1201 Ortega Street, the home of a former infant shelter.[citation needed] It resided there for fifty years, before moving to its next location at 50 Oak Street in 2006.[citation needed]

In 2020, the SFCM added the new Bowes Center at 200 Van Ness Avenue (across from Davies Symphony Hall), a 12-story building that includes dorms (eight floors) with acoustic insulation for 400 of its students, 27 rent-controlled apartments for residents of the older building that was replaced by the construction, and some public performing spaces, including a penthouse concert room with views towards the north and west.[3][1] The Bowes Center's $200 million cost was largely funded by donors, including $46.4 million from the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation.[4][1] The San Francisco Chronicle's architecture critic John King characterized the building's design as "[pushing] against the strict rules of the historic district but [respecting] the air of gravitas. For starters, the building is skinned in translucent glass that conceals insulation and the structural frame — a touch that adds a milky visual depth ..."[1] As of 2021, the Bowes Center was envisaged to fully open to the public in February 2022.[1]

In 2020, SFCM announced a partnership with the talent management company Opus 3 Artists, and in May 2022 it acquired the Dutch classical music label, Pentatone, funded by a private donor.[5] The music website "Classical Voice" described this "combination of a music-education organization with two professional music businesses" as "unusual."[5]


  • Ada Clement and Lillian Hodghead, 1917–1925
  • Ernest Bloch, 1925–1930
  • Ada Clement and Lillian Hodghead, 1930–1951
  • Albert Elkus, 1951–1957
  • Robin Laufer, 1957–1966
  • Milton Salkind, 1966–1990
  • Stephen Brown, 1990–1991
  • Milton Salkind (Acting President), 1991–1992
  • Colin Murdoch, 1992–2013
  • David Stull, 2013–present

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f King, John (November 21, 2021). "S.F.'s Civic Center has a new landmark — and it shows how the district should evolve". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  2. ^ "SFCM Brand Guide" (PDF). San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
  3. ^ "The Bowes center".
  4. ^ "San Francisco Conservatory of Music Gets $46 Million Gift". The New York Times. April 25, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Kotapish, Paul (May 17, 2022). "SF Conservatory of Music Acquires Pentatone". Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  6. ^ "Deborah Voigt Joins San Francisco Conservatory of Music Faculty".
  7. ^ Christophe Huss (August 26, 2006). "Léopold Simoneau (1916–2006) – Mozart rappelle les siens". Le Devoir (in French). Dans les années soixante-dix, il enseigna le chant au San Francisco Conservatory of Music et à l'école des beaux-arts de Banff, avant de s'installer à Victoria, où il fonda, en 1982, avec son épouse Pierrette Alarie, le Canada Opera Piccola destiné à la formation des jeunes chanteurs canadiens.

External links[edit]