The San Francisco Conservatory of Music celebrated its annual gala on March 21, honoring trustee William K. Bowes, Jr. The gala served as the announcement of the Conservatory's new, ground-breaking Roots, Jazz, and American Music (RJAM) program— the first collaboration of its kind in which a world-class music conservatory is formally linked to an award-winning jazz concert venue and its all-star resident ensemble, SFJAZZ Collective. The inaugural, four-year bachelor's degree program will welcome its first-ever class of Roots, Jazz, and American Music majors in the fall of 2017, which will also mark SFCM's 100th anniversary of delivering an extraordinary education to some of the world's most talented musicians.
Co-chaired by trustees Barbro Osher and Deepa Pakianathan, this year's gala featured pianist Jeremy Denk, the SFJAZZ Collective, and Conservatory musicians. Vice President of Advancement Stacy Cullison said of the event, "The fact that the fundraising goal for the event was exceeded by 20% is a tribute to Mr. Bowes and the love the community has for him and the talented students of SFCM."
Mr. Bowes first made a name for himself as a venture capitalist, fostering significant innovation and growth through strategic investments. He began his career with Blyth & Co., the predecessor to Blyth Eastman Paine Webber, serving as senior vice president and director before co-founding U.S. Venture Partners (USVP) in 1981. Prior to founding USVP, Mr. Bowes had success funding a number of companies, including Cetus, Raychem, and Dymo Industries. He has led USVP investments in Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, Applied Biosystems, Sun Microsystems, Glycomed, Ventritex, and others. He was a founding investor in Amgen, serving as its first chairman and treasurer, and currently serves on the board of Xoma Corporation.
During Bowes' tenure as a trustee, SFCM successfully relocated to its home at 50 Oak Street in San Francisco's Civic Center, has realized its goal of becoming a first-choice institution for top-tier students and faculty, and moved into the highest echelons of professional education in music. According to Bowes, "SFCM takes young people and develops them. It's venture capital in a different sense, and that's why supporting the Conservatory really appeals to me".
The Conservatory is pleased to kick off its next century with this exciting new partnership, in which students will have the opportunity to hone their craft directly with members of the award-winning SFJAZZ Collective, the repertory group of the SFJAZZ Center.
Faculty member Mason Bates, who recently released an album of orchestral works with the San Francisco Symphony, spun at the after party as DJ Masonic as attendees danced the night away.