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Catching Up with the Inaugural Class of SFCM Interns at Opus 3 Artists

Josh Choi, viola, and Yuki Yokota, piano, finished the semester-long internship by attending the annual Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference in January in New York City.

February 19, 2024 by Alex Heigl

Two SFCM students walked out of the first SFCM Opus 3 Internship program with a deeper understanding of not just an artist-management company, but the music industry as a whole.

Choi and Yokota were selected in December for the first-of-its-kind internship, which gave them first-hand experience on the inner workings of an artist-management company and concluded with a Winter Term trip to New York City. Winter Term at SFCM is an annual period that pushes students to explore topics outside their standard curriculum.

Yokota said she was tasked with researching artists and trends in the performing arts industry, such as video game performance tours, something she admittedly didn't have much familiarity with. "That was actually really interesting because I like video game music but I never thought that people were interested in game music to the degree they would go to these events at places like the SF Symphony."

"This was a nice way to experience something outside of playing," Yokota continued. "A lot of our focus is playing and learning rep, have recitals and then you just kind of get thrown out into the real world. You know how to play, but how do you find a management company? How do they work? Just to see how the company worked and how they communicated was an eye-opening experience for me."

"This is definitely the biggest structure and organization that I've worked with," Choi said. "It was really cool to see how this kind of bigger arts management company that's working with hundreds of artists functions, how each artist, booking agent, and manager has their team."

"It is very cool to see the Conservatory giving these opportunities for this internship," Choi continued. "There can be this stigma where it's like, if you don't get into an orchestra, you fail. But what was great for us to see was that when SFCM posted the first article on the internship, we found that it got more recognition from out of the performing community than we thought it would. So for us, being performers and knowing that there is that slight stigma—no matter how much we're trying to break it down—it was really gratifying to see this kind of work being recognized."

"It was a pleasure to get to know Yuki and Josh during their tenure with us," Opus 3 Managing Director Robert Berretta said. "Their energy and enthusiasm were inspiring and I think they gained very good insight into the workings of the agency business in such a short time. It was a great inauguration to what we hope will be an even more collaborative and fruitful program in the years to come."

Opus 3 is one of the leading artist-management companies in the world, counting artists ranging from Yo-Yo Ma and Branford Marsalis to SFCM alum Teddy Abrams. Acquired by SFCM in 2020, Opus 3 is a wing of the growing SFCM alliance, which includes artist-management company Askonas Holt and venerable record label PENTATONE. The internship showcases the unique advantages SFCM students have through the alliance, aside from the most visible ones, such as the roster of performers who come to the Conservatory to visit.

Learn more about SFCM's growing alliance and its recurring Winter Term.