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Oral History Project

For the sake of posterity.

SFCM Oral History Project

The Conservatory's Oral History Project has the goal of seeking out and collecting memories of historical significance to the Conservatory through recorded interviews with members of the Conservatory's community, which will then be preserved, transcribed, and made available to the public.

Among the narrators will be former administrators, faculty members, trustees, alumni, and family of former Conservatory luminaries. Through this diverse group, we’ll explore the growth and expansion of the Conservatory, including its departments, organization, finances and curriculum. We’ll capture personal memories before they are lost, fill in gaps in our understanding of the Conservatory's history, and uncover how the Conservatory helped to shape San Francisco's musical culture throughout the past century.

Featured Audio

Conrad Susa - Radio

Bonnie Hampton - “My modest beginnings…”

Robert Symmonds - First Guitar Teacher

Links to interview pages

Jonathan Elkus

Son of Albert Elkus, Conservatory Director from 1951-1957

Alden Jenks

Former Electronic Music Faculty

Barbara Imbrie

Family of Andrew Imbrie, former Composition Faculty

Oral history interviews are a method of collecting historical information from a narrator with firsthand knowledge of historically significant events. These interviews are primary materials, and by nature reflect the personal opinion of the narrators. As with any primary resource, these interviews are not to be viewed as the final and definitive source for any subject.

All literary rights to audio and manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Requests for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to