In 1917, local pianists Ada Clement and Lillian Hodghead opened the doors of the Ada Clement Piano School. Located in the remodeled home of Lillian’s parents, the school began with three pianos, four studios, two blackboards, and 40 students. Enrollment grew quickly and, recognizing the need for a music conservatory on the West Coast, the school became the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 1923.
From the beginning, chamber music has been an important part of the Conservatory. The first faculty chamber group, the California String Quartet, was formed in 1926. In 1948, the internationally renowned Griller Quartet established a summer school at the Conservatory, attracting students from across the United States. The ensemble returned for three more summers and served on the faculty for many years.
The renowned Alma Trio began a summer residence program in 1952, and the ensemble’s pianist, Adolph Baller, subsequently joined the Conservatory’s faculty.
Today, the Conservatory hosts approximately 407 students enrolled from 35 states and 31 countries to study with distinguished faculty members who include more than two dozen members of the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, and Ballet orchestras.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music Information
- Public Transportation: Very Good (a 7-minute walk from several buses, light rail lines F, J, K, L, M, N, and T, and BART trains at the Civic Center station)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Varies per year
- Ticket Prices: Some events are free; prices for others range $15–$20.