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Susan Bates

Interview Date: September 3, 2015
Conservatory Affiliation: Pre-college faculty
Interviewer: Tessa Updike, Archivist

Susan Bates, violist and champion of chamber music education holds the 1992 award for "Excellence in Chamber Music Training" from Chamber Music America, and has instructed violists and chamber musicians in the Pre-College of San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1982, guiding many in the art form of chamber music who are now pursuing careers as professionals as well as playing chamber music "for the love of it".

Ms. Bates' career includes the creation and direction of several chamber music education programs for highly talented musical youth: San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre College Chamber Music Program (1983-2000), California Summer Music (1996-2000), and Lake Tahoe Music Festival Academy with the Miró Quartet (2000-2006). In 2008, Ms. Bates founded the award-winning chamber music training program for advanced pre college string players and pianists Young Chamber Musicians (2008-present) that resides at Kohl Mansion, Burlingame and works in collaboration with the Peninsula's premier presenting series, Music at Kohl Mansion.

Susan Bates is a founding member of the New Age String Quartet that worked under the tutelage of the Paganini Quartet. She was for seven years instructor at San Jose State University serving as violist of the faculty ensemble, the San Jose String Quartet. The Quartet worked closely with composer Lou Harrison, giving the premier of his Quartet Set (1978). Ms. Bates also recorded Mr. Harrison's Threnody for Carlos Chavez (1979) for Solo Viola with Gamelan Sekar Kembar for CRI. In 2010, Susan Bates retired from the viola section of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra after 34 years. Ms. Bates currently serves on the Boards of Directors of San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and the California Music Center (Irving M. Klein Competition). She is the 2013 recipient of the Tom Heimberg Viola Advocate Award from the Northern California Viola Society.

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Early years
Early quartets
Joining the Conservatory
Colleagues and friends
Summer Music West
The Music House
Chamber Music in Pre-college
Teaching style
Student compositions and performances


Early years

Joining SFCM

Music House

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