The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) today announces the launch of a new channel on Apple Music, curated by SFCM. The Conservatory will begin to publish playlists on a weekly basis, highlighting the commercial recordings of SFCM’s guest artists, faculty members, and other musicians within the SFCM community. SFCM faculty members will also create playlists pertaining to timely curricular focuses and concert planning at the institution, a reflection of the Conservatory’s recent initiatives in bridging performance and classroom experiences through semester-long thematic programming.
“We are delighted to work closely with Apple in developing opportunities to expand the engagement of music at all levels,” says SFCM President David H. Stull. “It is a privilege to be invited to join such an exciting endeavor and we look forward to working together in the future.”
In starting the curated channel, SFCM joins an exclusive roster of prestigious institutions, companies, and artists cultivating a musical voice and identity on Apple Music. The Apple Music channel will allow SFCM to bring attention to not only specific faculty members and artists, but also departments as a whole. SFCM’s unique position as an institution of higher learning allows for its curated playlists to act as educational tools, assembled by world-class artists—including faculty members—to teach listeners about the specifics of genre, instrumentation, and other musical attributes.
The first few weeks after the launch of the channel will include “introduction” playlists to the Conservatory’s Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program and brand new Roots, Jazz, and American Music (RJAM) program. Other planned playlists include those featuring performances by faculty members such as Deborah Voigt, Jon Nakamatsu, and David Tanenbaum, SFCM artists-in-residence Leon Fleisher and Garrick Ohlsson, and a general minimalist music listening course.
The launch of SFCM’s curated Apple Music channel follows the recent rebranding of the Conservatory. In January 2017, SFCM launched a new website and brand identity, focusing on creating a media-rich environment with in-depth, accessible faculty profiles and engaging video content and imagery. As a result, SFCM has seen heightened interest from applicants and an overall uptick in applications received.
The SFCM profile and the SFCM curated playlists can be found at apple.co/SFCM.
SFCM on Apple Music: Initial Playlists to be Featured at Launch
1. SFCM Faculty Highlights: Voigt, Nakamatsu, Barantschik, Bates
Celebrate the artistry of SFCM’s world-class faculty. This playlist features highlights from the discographies of internationally revered soprano Deborah Voigt; pianist Jon Nakamatsu, a Van Cliburn Competition gold medalist and acclaimed recitalist; violinist Alexander Barantschik, Concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony and, before that, the London Symphony Orchestra; and Mason Bates, perhaps the leading composer of his generation and, since 2016, the Kennedy Center’s first-ever composer-in-residence.
2. Technology and Applied Composition (TAC): Introduction
Established in 2015 and one of only a handful of programs of its kind in the nation, SFCM’s Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program offers students a cutting-edge course of study in sound design, film and video game scoring, and creative production techniques. Faculty comprise many of the leading composers and sound designers active in Silicon Valley and beyond. This introductory playlist, designed by TAC Executive Director MaryClare Brzytwa, features works excerpted from the syllabus of Brzytwa’s Digital Production Techniques course for first-year TAC students.
3. Roots, Jazz, and American Music (RJAM): Introduction
SFCM’s Roots, Jazz, and American Music (RJAM) program, set to launch in Fall 2017, is a new Bachelor of Music degree program offering students an unparalleled immersion in jazz and roots music traditions—their history, theory, and practice—while studying and performing alongside members of the legendary SFJAZZ Collective, who will serve as the program’s core faculty. Run in close partnership with the SFJAZZ Center, RJAM will provide its students opportunities to work closely with many of the top jazz artists on the concert circuit today while performing in venues throughout the Bay Area. Curated by RJAM Executive Director Simon Rowe, this introductory playlist features highlights from the discographies of distinguished RJAM faculty members and resident artists.
4. Artist-in-Residence: Leon Fleisher
Since his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1944 and First Prize in Belgium’s prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1952, pianist Leon Fleisher (SFCM ’90, honoris causa) has stood as one of the towering performing artists of our time. Compiled in honor of Fleisher’s artistic residency at SFCM during the 2016-17 academic year, this playlist explores Fleisher’s recorded legacy, from his legendary collaboration with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra to, more recently, his Grammy-nominated album All the Things That You Are (2014), his first solo recording in over a decade.
5. Artist-in-Residence: Garrick Ohlsson
Gold Medalist at the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition and winner of Italy’s Busoni Competition (1966) and Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Prize (1994), Garrick Ohlsson (SFCM ’16, honoris causa) is widely regarded as one of the finest pianists of his generation. Though particularly well known as an interpreter of Chopin, Ohlsson commands a remarkably broad repertoire, ranging from works by Beethoven and Mozart to numerous twenty-first-century pieces newly composed for him. Celebrate the depth and breadth of Ohlsson’s artistry with this playlist compiled in honor of his 2016-17 artistic residency at SFCM.
6. SFCM Faculty Highlights: Mentzer, Tanenbaum, Swensen, Blumenstock
Celebrate the artistry of SFCM’s world-class faculty. This playlist features highlights from the discographies of internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer; guitarist David Tanenbaum, widely hailed as one of his instrument’s most accomplished performers and most visible proponents; violinist Ian Swensen, a former member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and holder of SFCM’s Isaac Stern Chair of Violin; and Elizabeth Blumenstock, a long-time soloist, concertmaster, and leader for ensembles such as Philharmonia Baroque and one of today’s leading teachers of baroque violin.
7. In the Classroom: Minimalism
Explore the history of minimalist music with this playlist drawn from the syllabus of Prof. Ryan Brown’s Minimalism course (Spring 2017). Several of the featured works bear close connections to San Francisco in general, and SFCM in particular. For example, Terry Riley’s In C—perhaps the landmark work of minimalism in music—was premiered at the San Francisco Tape Music Center in 1964 and Steve Reich based It’s Gonna Rain (1965) on a recording he made of the street preacher Brother Walter in San Francisco’s Union Square, while John Adams composed his Phrygian Gates and Shaker Loops while a faculty member at SFCM, where these works premiered in 1977 and 1978, respectively.