Skip to main content

Author: Alfredo Casuso

Hotel Council of San Francisco AnnouncesNew Executive Committee Members

Media Contact:  DP&A, Inc / David Perry / (415) 676-7007 /

Hotel Council of San Francisco Announces
New Executive Committee Members 

31 January 2024 – San Francisco, CA:  The Hotel Council of San Francisco ( has named its new executive committee to its recently expanded board of directors: Board Chair Michael Baier (Managing Director, Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SoMa);Vice Chair Clif Clark (Area General Manager, Westin St. Francis Union Square);Treasurer Nany Fullmore (General Manager, The Clancy, Autograph Collection);and as Secretary Raymond Vermolen (General Manager, InterContinental San Francisco).

“I am truly honored to assume the role of incoming Chair of the Board of Directors for the Hotel Council of San Francisco,” said Michael Baier, Managing Director at Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SoMa. “Being a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, I feel a deep sense of pride in witnessing the dedicated efforts of our hospitality community as we tirelessly work towards restoring our industry. I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to contribute my efforts on the Board and passionately advocate for the advancement of our city’s foremost industry—hospitality and tourism.”

The Hotel Council of San Francisco is a non-profit membership-based organization advocating for the economic and social vitality of the hospitality industry in San Francisco. Their membership roster includes over 200 hotels, allied members, and partner organizations. The Hotel Council is dedicated to protecting the San Francisco hospitality industry and connecting its members to support the growth and success of the industry.

“These four professionals are the example of servant leadership,” said Alex Bastian, President & CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. “Their deep experience in San Francisco’ hospitality community and years of wisdom will serve us well in this important year for our recovering tourism economy.”

Meet the newly appointed members of the Hotel Council’s executive committee, as detailed in the bios below:

Michael Baier

(Managing Director, Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SoMa)

Michael Baier is a Bay Area native and started in the hotel industry in 1989 with opening of the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.  After spending six years at the Marquis Michael grew his career as he and his family traveled from SF to Vail, Philadelphia, Austin and Dallas before returning to San Francisco in

2011.  Since his return Michael moved from Hotel Manager at W San Francisco to Hotel Manager at Parc55, GM at Stanford Court, Park Central SF, Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf and then back to Park Central as it emerged from the pandemic and transformation to the Hyatt Regency SOMA.  Michael is passionate about SF and looks forward to the continued effort in returning this glorious city to its rightful position!  Michael lives in Pleasant Hill and as foodie, enjoys the close proximity to the wine country.  He and his wife of 35 years love to travel and explore new places.  Together they have three children; Trevor, Josh and Natalie who were all born in different states!

Clif Clark
Vice Chair
Area General Manager, Westin St. Francis Union Square 

Clark’s 39-year career at prominent hotels on the west coast includes nearly three decades in the role of general manager at top-performing Marriott properties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to the Westin St. Francis, he led the acclaimed Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Clif Clark began his hospitality career 1984 as a management trainee at the Westin Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Over the next 12 years, he held management positions in the front office, operations, and food and beverage, learning all aspects of the hotel industry. In 1996, when he became General Manager of the Oakland Marriott City Center, one of his top achievements was successfully negotiating a contract with the City of Oakland that granted the hotel permission to manage the adjacent Convention Center. Clark has also been Hotel Manager of the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, the second largest hotel in San Francisco, and the pre-opening General Manager of the San Jose Marriott. At both properties, he generated exceptional profits, elevated the service standards, and inspired passion and commitment from his teams. In San Jose, he was one of five founders of “Team San Jose,” the organization that manages the City’s convention and theatre facilities. Clark’s local leadership history includes serving on the Executive Board of Directors for the Hotel Council of San Francisco, the San Francisco Travel Tourism Improvement District Board, the Board of Directors for the Union Square Alliance, and Chairman of the Board for the San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau. He served on the Marriott Global General Manager Advisory Council and is the Marriott Business Council Guidance Team Leader for the business councils in San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle.

Clif Clark holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from Washington State University. While studying abroad at the University of Munich, he assisted in the research of a European hotel management textbook written by Dr. Lother Kreck.

Nany Fullmore
General Manager, The Clancy Autograph Collection

With over 25 years in the hospitality industry, Nany brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership experience to The Clancy. Her career began as an Assistant Controller at the JW Marriott Washington, DC, and a year later she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she held a variety of finance positions, including Director of Finance & Accounting at the Fremont Marriott and then at the Santa Clara Marriott. After an illustrious career in finance, Nany moved into operations as Director of Hotel Operation-Rooms at the Santa Clara Marriott, where she led the team to improve associate engagement, guest satisfaction and rooms profitability over five years. In 2013, Nany was promoted to General Manager at the San Ramon Marriott, where she led the team for eight years, hitting new highs for guest satisfaction and maintaining top rankings in key metrics. Her open-door policy with associates resulted in associate engagement increasing by 15 points to 85 in 2019.  She built strong community relationships by establishing the “Discover San Ramon” business district to fund marketing efforts through collaborative work with city officials, fellow General Managers, and key stakeholders in the community. Nany embodies a Take Care culture, and during these unprecedented times, she’s led her team through the pandemic and the transition of the San Ramon Marriott from managed to franchise. Nany enjoys visiting historical sites and considers Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Ethiopia, and Israel to be among her favorite destinations.

Raymond Vermolen 
General Manager, InterContinental San Francisco)

Raymond Vermolen has spent thirty years in the hotel industry, advancing steadily to jobs of increasing responsibility in diverse cultures.  Vermolen earned a bachelor’s degree in the Hospitality Industry from the Hotel Management School in the Netherlands and an MBA from Henley Management College in the United Kingdom. Prior to his current position, he held various roles at InterContinental hotels in Amsterdam, Paris, Athens, Lebanon and Egypt, and later served as the Hotel Manager for Barclay InterContinental in New York. In 2007, he became the General Manager of the InterContinental Los Angeles in Century City. In 2009, he joined the InterContinental Houston as General Manager before transferring for a 5-year stint as the General Manager of the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile in 2011. He then opened the LA Indigo Hotel and now leads the Area as General Manager/RDO at the InterContinental Hotel San Francisco. Vermolen is passionate about adventure travel, motorcycles and exploring culinary experiences and counts coaching and mentoring teams as a hobby. He is also an avid runner who loves the outdoors.

The Hotel Council of San Francisco’s2024 “Hospitality Heroes Awards “

Media Contact: David Perry & Associates, Inc/David Perry
( 415) 676-7007 / 

The Hotel Council of San Francisco’s
2024 “Hospitality Heroes Awards “

Thursday, March 7 at the InterContinental Hotel San Francisco 

Deadline to Nominate a Hospitality Hero is Friday, February 2

29 January 2024, San Francisco.  Roaring into 2024 with renewed optimism, increasing tourism numbers and following up its turn in the international spotlight during the recent APEC Conference, San Francisco’s hospitality community is ready to salute its own. On ThursdayMarch 7th (5:30pm – 8:30pm) the Hotel Council of San Francisco ( returns with its annual Hospitality Heroes Awards at the InterContinental Hotel San Francisco (888 Howard Street) to celebrate the City’s # 1 economic driver, tourism, and the professionals who make a difference. Members of the public and hospitality colleagues are encouraged to nominate their own “Hospitality Hero”. Nominations are open until COB Friday, February 2 by online submission at More information may be found online

“This is a pivotal year in San Francisco’s continuing recovery, and also in expanding that recovery into a fulltime boom,” said Alex Bastian, Hotel Council President and CEO. “There is a palpable sense of optimism and renewed commitment to fulfilling San Francisco’s iconic status as a worldclass international tourism destination. The people that make it world-class are our frontline hospitality workers. This event is for, and about, them. ”

Established in 2003, the Hospitality Heroes awards were created to pay tribute to the people who dedicate their lives to the hospitality industry. As the largest industry in San Francisco, hotels and tourism directly impact the success of many businesses throughout San Francisco, supporting over 86,000 jobs.The Hotel Council of San Francisco is a non-profit membership-based organization advocating for the economic and social vitality of the hospitality industry in San Francisco. Their membership roster includes over 200 hotels, allied members, and partner organizations. The Hotel Council is dedicated to protecting the San Francisco hospitality industry and connecting its members to support the growth and success of the industry.

The categories for this year’s Hospitality Heroes Awards are as follows:

Beyond the Call: Hotels and Restaurants
This award is given to an individual who demonstrates a willingness to go “beyond the call of duty” in their hotel/restaurant. At a minimum, the employee created an unforgettable experience for a guest or colleague.

Unsung Hero: Hotels and Restaurants
This award is given to an individual who enables their hotel/restaurant to enhance guest experiences. An unsung hero strives to improve customer service out of professionalism and dedication to true hospitality. 

Rising Star: Hotels Only
This award is given to an individual who has been in the industry for less than five years but demonstrates the potential to become a pivotal figure in the hotel community.  

Werner Lewin Lifetime Achievement – Operations” Hotels Only
This award is given to an individual (non-manager) who has proven dedication and commitment to the hotel industry for over ten years. 

Lifetime Achievement – Department Manager: Hotels Only
This award is given to a Department Manager who has proven dedication and commitment to the hotel industry for over ten years.

Bob Begley Lifetime Achievement – Hotel Executive: Hotels Only
This award is given to an individual who is an executive leadership team member, General Manager, Vice President, and/or Regional Manager. This individual has proven dedication, leadership, and commitment to the hotel industry for at least 15 years.

Community Spirit: Hotels Only
This award is given to a hotel or hotel company that contributes to the community. Contributions include volunteer efforts, donations, and giving back through various programs and organizations.

Sustainability: Hotels Only
This award is given to a hotel or hotel company committed to environmental sustainability. This commitment can be proven through instituting green design and equipment, water conservation, local food sourcing, and waste reduction programs.

DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility): Hotels Only
The DEIA award will recognize hotels or hotel companies that actively promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the hospitality industry. Criteria include evidence of diverse hiring practices, an inclusive work culture, and equitable opportunities for professional growth. Accessibility includes accommodations and modifications to ensure equal access to employment and participation in activities for people with disabilities. The organization should demonstrate commitment through ongoing training programs, community engagement initiatives, and dedication to supplier diversity.

Exceptional Full Service Restaurant of the Year:
This award is presented to a restaurant with a sterling reputation for providing outstanding food, beverage, and service.

Exceptional Fast Casual Restaurant of the Year:
This award is presented to a restaurant that demonstrates a dedication to dining excellence, service, and value, in a casual environment. This is open to food trucks, pop up restaurants, and other non-brick and mortar dining.

Supplier Spotlight: Allied Members of the Hotel Council Only:
The award recognizes a company and individual that stand out in collaborating with hotels and hospitality businesses in San Francisco. Criteria include a proven track record of successful partnerships, innovations that elevate guest experiences, and active engagement with the local community. Overall, the company and individual being nominated should embody excellence, collaboration, and a positive impact on San Francisco’s vibrant hospitality landscape.

Travel & Tourism Spotlight: Allied Members of the Hotel Council Only:
The award recognizes a company and individual that stand out in collaborating with hotels and hospitality businesses in San Francisco. Criteria include a proven track record of successful partnerships, innovations that elevate guest experiences, and active engagement with the local community. Overall, the company and individual being nominated should embody excellence, collaboration, and a positive impact on San Francisco’s vibrant hospitality landscape.

Prices for the Hospitality Heroes Awards gala are: Table of 10: $3000; half table $1600. Individual Tickets, $ 350 available online at

Crowden’s 40th Anniversary Season Continueswith Alexander String Quartet Festival 

Media contact: David Perry / / (415) 676-7007

Crowden’s 40th Anniversary Season Continues
with Alexander String Quartet Festival 

Featuring public Alexander String Quartet concert 2/17

29 January 2024 – Berkeley, CA:  Continuing its 40th anniversary year celebrations, Berkeley’s Crowden Music Center ( proudly announces an inaugural Chamber Music Festival with the Alexander String Quartet this Presidents’ Day weekend, February 17–19

Crowden and ASQ’s Chamber Music Festival is an exciting opportunity for advanced high school string quartets from Bay Area music organizations to spend three intensive days of coachings and master classes with ASQ members. In its inaugural year, participation is by invitation and tuition free of charge. Talented chamber music ensembles from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division, Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, Crowden, and others will participate in the immersive workshop, culminating in an advanced free public student concert on Monday, February 19,3:30pm. As a highlight of the Festival, ASQ will perform a public faculty concert at Crowden on Saturday evening, February 17, 7pm, featuring works by Tarik O’Regan, Leoš Janáček, and Jean Sibelius.

“We are so proud, in our 40th anniversary year, to deepen our ongoing relationship with Alexander String Quartet, one of the world’s most esteemed string quartets that frequently serves on our summer Chamber Music Workshop faculty,” notes Crowden Artistic Director Eugene Sor, who studied cello with ASQ founding cellist Sandy Wilson himself as a music student at San Francisco State University. “It is an exciting representation of the profound and reciprocating mentorship that makes Crowden such a vibrant artistic community, and I am deeply honored to count myself in that tradition.”


  • Tarik O’Regan: Gradual
  • Leoš Janáček: String Quartet, No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata”
  • Jean Sibelius: String Quartet, Op. 56 in d minor, “Voces Intimate”

Crowden’s 40th anniversary celebrations also include upcoming Sundays @ Four chamber music concerts featuring Fry Street Quartet on March 3, 4pm, and Catalyst Quartet on April 21, 4pm, and culminate this May with a 40th Anniversary Concert at UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall. “Our 40th Anniversary Concert boasts an amazing list of performers and composers spanning Crowden’s illustrious history, including the Catalyst Quartet with alum Karla Donehew Perez (’99), alum pianist Audrey Vardanega (’09), alum violist Abigail Rojansky (’03) of the Verona Quartet, incomparable cellist and Crowden mentor Bonnie Hampton, and world-renowned violinists Nora Chastain, Ariana Kim, and David McCarroll (’99), as well as Crowden musicians and faculty of all ages,” shares Eugene Sor. “The future of music will be represented not only by our stellar young musicians and alumni, but Crowden composers as well. Our 40th Anniversary Concert will feature alum composer Gabriella Smith (’05, John Adams Young Composers Program) and a world premiere and 40th anniversary commission by alum Samuel Adams (’00), as well as incredible patron of the arts, transformational benefactor of Crowden,and Crowden’s 40th Anniversary Concert Honoree, composer Gordon Getty.”

 Originally founded in 1983 as a middle school dedicated to improving the intellectual development and social-emotional lives of adolescents through music, the Crowden School remains the only school of its kind in the country. Today it serves students in grades 3-8 with an inspiring, whole-child education centered around the collaborative art of chamber music. “At the Crowden School, every day begins with music,” explains Head of School Dan Meyers. “This simple practice has powerful benefits for our students: activating both sides of their brains, inspiring their creative energy, and encouraging them to find resonance with each other. Then, students bring that engagement and excitement into their academic classrooms. Working collaboratively, Crowden School students use the process of inquiry and discussion to explore essential questions, design experiments, analyze literature, and discover the joys of learning across disciplines.”

 In addition to its pioneering day school, Crowden serves more than 1,000 music students of all ages through private lessons, classes, ensembles, and summer camps. Flagship programs for the general community include its John Adams Young Composers Program and acclaimed chamber music programs for youth and adults. Crowden reaches a combined audience of 8,000 with a rich array of workshops, events, and concerts each year. Learn how music changes everything at  

Crowden 40th Anniversary 2023–2024 Season Calendar

February 17, 2024, 7:00pm
 Alexander String Quartet Festival Faculty Concert
 Crowden Music Center (1475 Rose St., Berkeley)

Crowden inaugural Chamber Music Festival with the Alexander String Quartet features a faculty concert open to the public!

 Tarik O’Regan: Gradual

 Leoš Janáček: String Quartet, No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata”

 Jean Sibelius: String Quartet, Op. 56 in d minor, “Voces Intimate”


March 3, 2024, 4:00pm
 Sundays @ Four: Fry Street Quartet
 Crowden Music Center (1475 Rose St., Berkeley)

Hailed as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the New York Times, this globally acclaimed, Fischoff Grand Prize-winning quartet of sometimes Crowden summer faculty members perform Beethoven, Lena Frank, and Shostakovich.

 Ludwig van Beethoven Quartet in F Major, Op.135
 Gabriela Lena Frank TBA
 Dmitri Shostakovich Quartet No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 117


April 21, 2024, 4:00pm
 Sundays @ Four: Catalyst Quartet
 Crowden Music Center (1475 Rose St., Berkeley)

Grammy® Award-winning Catalyst Quartet, featuring alumna Karla Donehew Perez (’99), tours the world to acclaim for its “perfect ensemble unity” and “unequaled class of execution” (Lincoln Journal Star).

  “But just a minute”, Paquito D’Rivera
 “Farewell mambo”, P. D’Rivera
 “Wapango”, P. D’Rivera
 Angel Suite, Astor Piazzolla (arr. Catalyst Quartet)
 String Quartet, Germaine Tailleferre (Gershwin lullaby)
 Lyric Quartet, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson 


May 25, 2024

Crowden 40th Anniversary Concert & Reception
 Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley
 An unforgettable showcase of Crowden alumni, mentors, and friends at Hertz Hall, including Bonnie Hampton, Audrey Vardanega, the Catalyst Quartet, and more. This program features perennial Crowden favorites paired with special moments, including a work composed by Crowden’s greatest benefactor, composer Gordon Getty, and the world premiere of a new work for two violins and string orchestra by Samuel Adams, commissioned for our 40th anniversary and premiered by two acclaimed Crowden violinists: Nora Chastain, a world-famous soloist and chamber musician and student of founder Anne Crowden, and alumnus David McCarroll (’99), Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, formerly a member of the famed Vienna Piano Trio.

 * David McCarroll (’99) and Nora Chastain performing Samuel Adams world premiere 40th anniversary commission with an ensemble of Crowden faculty, alumni, and current students.
 * Catalyst Quartet performing a movement of Mendelssohn Octet with Crowden faculty and alumni, including violist Abigail Rojansky (‘03) of the Verona Quartet
 * Bonnie Hampton-led cello ensemble
 * Friction Quartet performing Carrot Revolution by Gabriella Smith
 * Audrey Vardanega and Ariana Kim performing Primavera Porteña from The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Piazzolla
 * Gordon Getty composition TBA
 * Kenneth Rensaw (‘08) Concertmaster for Crowden faculty and alumni orchestra performing Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams (an Anne Crowden favorite)
 * Original composition by John Adams Young Composers Program student Nicole Targosz, performed by The Crowden School Lower School Orchestra


May 26, 2024
 Crowden 40th Anniversary Reunion Brunch
 Crowden Music Center (1475 Rose St., Berkeley)
 Crowden alumni from all programs, alum families from all eras, and current and former faculty from throughout Crowden’s history to join us for a joyous brunch honoring Crowden alums from the past 40 years.


Crowden 40th Anniversary 2023–2024
 Artist Bios

Samuel Adams (’00, commissioned composer)

Samuel Adams (b. 1985) is an American composer whose music weaves acoustic and digital sound into “mesmerizing” (New York Times) orchestrations. Sought after by orchestras and contemporary ensembles alike, he has received commissions from a broad range of organizations including San Francisco Symphony, Carnegie Hall, New World Symphony, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Spektral Quartet, and has collaborated with performers and conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Robertson, MTT, violinists Anthony Marwood, Jennifer Koh, Karen Gomyo, and pianists Emanuel Ax, Sarah Cahill, David Fung, and Joyce Yang.

The 2022-23 season highlighted several world premieres including Echo Transcriptions, a new work for electric violin and orchestra commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra for Richard Tognetti. The work was taken on a national tour of Australia in late 2022 and received North American performances in California and Toronto the following Spring. In February, pianist Conor Hanick and the San Francisco Symphony premiered a new work under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the following week, the Cincinnati Symphony premiered Adams’s Variations, a 2020 orchestral work co-commissioned by the CSO and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. Other season highlights include a performance of Adams’s 2017 Chamber Concerto with violinist Karen Gomyo and the release of a new record featuring the Chicago-based Spektral Quartet.

Adams was Mead Composer In Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2015 to 2018 and in the 2021-22 season was the Composer in Residence with Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He has held residencies at Civitella Ranieri (Umbria, IT), Djerassi Resident Artists Program (California, USA), Ucross (Wyoming, USA), and Visby International Centre for Composers (Gotland, SE). He is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow and lives and works in Seattle, WA.


Baumer String Quartet (Sundays @ Four artist; summer faculty, alums Nathan Olson Crowden School ‘00, Aaron Requiro Crowden School ’95, David Requiro Crowden School ‘99)

Acknowledged as one of the finest young quartets in the country, the Baumer String Quartet was founded in 2003 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The members of the Quartet pursue parallel careers as international soloists, leaders and principal players of world-class orchestras, as members of eminent chamber groups, and as professors of music. Baumer String Quartet members perform with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Dallas Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Utah Symphony, and the Santa Fe Opera. The Quartet comes together for limited touring engagements on a project-by-project basis, and rather than committing to a year-round schedule, the members of the Quartet meet for short musical residencies, providing a fresh perspective on interpretations of the traditional string quartet repertoire.

The Baumer String Quartet is quickly distinguishing itself among audiences and critics for their technical finesse, warmth of expression, and cutting-edge performances. Formerly known as the Kashii String Quartet, they won the Silver Medal at the 2005 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and Second Prize at the 2005 Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition. They worked closely with members of the Cleveland, Alban Berg, Vogler, Takács, Cavani, Borromeo, Brentano, Orion, St. Lawrence, and Juilliard String Quartets, as well as Isaac Stern in the “Stern Encounters” master class series. The Quartet was selected to participate in the International Artist Program at Music@Menlo, and worked closely with members of the Emerson String Quartet at Stony Brook University.

 Dedicated to educating and inspiring young musicians, the Baumer SQ founded the week-long Monterey (CA) Chamber Music Workshop, where they offered tuition-free intensive chamber music sessions to local students. The quartet has also served on faculty at the Crowden Chamber Music Workshop and the Innsbrook Music Festival. Members of the Quartet hold and have held faculty positions at the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of South Florida, the University of North Texas, the University of Puget Sound, and Southern Methodist University. The Quartet has been invited as featured artists for residencies at the University of South Florida, University of North Texas, Southern Methodist University, and the University of South Dakota, which included performance collaborations with faculty and students, as well as masterclasses, open rehearsals, and other educational events.

 Strong advocates for new music, members of the Quartet have collaborated with composers Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, Joan Tower, Elliott Carter, and Jennifer Higdon. They have premiered works by Tan Dun, Pierre Jalbert, Lou Harrison, Sydney Hodkinson, and Conor Brown. The Quartet premiered Charles Krenner’s String Quartet no. 1, and performed the Turtle Island Quartet’s arrangement of Egberto Gismonti’s Palhaço with former Turtle Island Quartet member (and Crowden summer faculty member) Evan Price. In 2019, the Quartet premiered Quinn Mason’s String Quartet no. 2, in collaboration with Dallas-based Avant Chamber Ballet. Most recently, the Quartet was involved in the commission of Sundial for string quartet and percussion by Samuel Adams. With guitarist David Tanenbaum, the Quartet recorded Aaron Jay Kernis’s 100 Greatest Dance Hits on the Black Box label.

The Baumer String Quartet is a proud affiliate of InterMusic SF. Their album of string quartets by Mozart and Dvořák will be released in the next year.


Jay Campbell (Sundays @ Four artist, Crowden School ’03)

Praised by The New York Times for his “electrifying performances,” cellist Jay Campbell is currently the only artist to have received two Avery Fisher Career Grants: as a cello soloist and as a member of the JACK Quartet. Armed with a diverse spectrum of repertoire and eclectic musical interests, he has been recognized for approaching both old and new works with the same probing virtuosity and emotional commitment.

 Among upcoming highlights are his world premiere performances of Andreia Pinto Correia’s new cello concerto with both the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon and the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra in Brazil. He will return to San Francisco Performances and the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series, where he previously served as co-curator with composer John Adams. Mr. Campbell recently concluded (to rave reviews) a U.S. tour with Swiss violinist, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, with performances at major venues such as the Kennedy Center, Boston Celebrity Series, and San Francisco Performances; the Italian premiere of Luca Francesconi’s concerto Das Ding singt with Musica Milano; and a performance of the Brahms Double Concerto with the Seattle Symphony and violinist, Pablo Rus Broseta.

 Recipient of awards from the BMI and ASCAP foundations, Jay Campbell was also First Prize winner of the 2012 Concert Artists Guild auditions, and Second Prize winner of the 2015 Walter W. Naumburg International Cello Competition, competing against more than a hundred cellists worldwide. He holds an Artist Diploma, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School, where he was a student of Fred Sherry. Jay Campbell plays a cello crafted in the 1750s by Italian luthier, Paolo Antonio Testore of Milan.

 “… its textures whisper and quiver, with silences and faint notes, rendered almost orthographic by Mr. Campbell’s clarity and specificity, alternating with frenetic dissolution.” – The New York Times


Catalyst Quartet (Sundays @ Four and Hertz Hall artist, alum member Karla Donehew Perez, Crowden School ’99)

Hailed by The New York Times at its Carnegie Hall debut as “invariably energetic and finely burnished… playing with earthy vigor,” the Grammy Award-winning Catalyst Quartet was founded by the internationally acclaimed Sphinx Organization in 2010. The ensemble (Karla Donehew Perez, violin (Crowden School ’99); Abi Fayette, violin; Paul Laraia, viola; and Karlos Rodriguez, cello) believes in the unity that can be achieved through music and imagine their programs and projects with this in mind, redefining and reimagining the classical music experience.

 The Catalyst Quartet, known for “perfect ensemble unity” and “unequaled class of execution” (Lincoln Journal Star), has toured widely throughout the United States and abroad, including sold-out performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., at Chicago’s Harris Theater, Miami’s New World Center, and Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall in New York. The quartet has been guest soloists with the Cincinnati Symphony, New Haven Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, and has served as principal players and featured ensemble with the Sphinx Organization’s featured ensemble, the Sphinx Virtuosi, on six national tours. They have been invited to perform at important music festivals such as Mainly Mozart in San Diego, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Sitka Music Festival, Juneau Jazz and Classics, Strings Music Festival, and the Grand Canyon Music Festival, where they appear annually. The Catalyst Quartet was ensemble-in-residence at the Vail Dance Festival in 2016 and in the 2021-22 season were in residence with San Francisco Performances where they presented the complete series of works from their Uncovered Project. In 2014, they opened the Festival del Sole in Napa, California with Joshua Bell and participated in England’s Aldeburgh Music Foundation String Quartet Residency with two performances in Jubilee Hall. In 2022 the Catalyst Quartet was named ensemble in residence for the Chamber Music Northwest Festival in Portland and for the Met Museum’s LiveArts series in NYC.

 Recent seasons have brought international engagements in Cuba, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Puerto Rico, and expanded tours throughout the United States. The ensemble’s New York City presence has included concerts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, for Schneider Concerts at The New School, for Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series, at the 92nd Street Y, and six concerts with GRAMMY Award-winning jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant for Jazz at Lincoln Center, for which the subsequent recording won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. The Catalyst Quartet launched its New York concert series CQ@Howl in 2018.

 Highlights of past collaborations include Encuentros, featuring a commissioned work by innovative Cuban composer Jorge Amado Molina and other voices from across the Cuban diaspora; (Im)migration: Music of Change, a collaboration with the Imani Winds; and CQ Minute, a commissioning project of 10 miniature string quartets in commemoration of the quartet’s 10th anniversary with works by Andy Akiho, Kishi Bashi, Billy Childs, Paquito D’Rivera, Tania Leon, Jessie Montgomery, Kevin Puts, Caroline Shaw, Joan Tower, and two young composers selected from a national call for scores. The quartet premiered “Passage,” a chamber ballet by Jessie Montgomery in celebration of Dance Theater of Harlem on their 50th anniversary with Kennedy Center honoree Tania Leon, and was ensemble-in-residence for the Vail International Dance Festival, where they collaborated with members of the Silkroad Ensemble and some of the finest dancers in the world. Catalyst Quartet’s largest ongoing project, UNCOVERED, is a multi-volume set of albums on Azica records that celebrates composers of color whose works have been overlooked by the traditional canon. Volume 1, released February 2021, includes the string quartet and quintets of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor with clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Volume 2 features works by Florence B. Price and Volume 3, released February 2023, features Coleridge-Taylor, Perkinson, William Grant Still, and George Walker.

The Catalyst Quartet’s recordings span the ensemble’s scope of interests and artistry. Its debut album, The Bach/Gould Project, features the quartet’s own collaborative arrangement of J.S. Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations, the first ever 4-voiced version of the piece, paired with Glenn Gould’s rarely heard String Quartet Op. 1. The ensemble can also be heard on Strum (Azica 2015), the solo debut album of composer Jessie Montgomery, who was a member violinist from 2012 to 2020; Bandoneón y cuerdas (Progressive Sounds 2017), tango-inspired music for string quartet and bandoneon by JP Jofre; and Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue Records 2017), a two-CD GRAMMY-winning album with Cecile McLorin Salvant.

The Catalyst Quartet combines a serious commitment to diversity and education with a passion for contemporary works. The ensemble has served as principal faculty at the Sphinx Performance Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Curtis Institute of Music. The Catalyst Quartet’s ongoing residencies include interactive performance presentations and workshops with Native American student composers at the Grand Canyon Music Festival. Past residencies have included concerts and masterclasses at The University Of Michigan, University Of Washington, Rice University’s Shepard School of Music, Houston’s Society for the Performing Arts, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, The Virginia Arts Festival, and Pennsylvania State University, and internationally at the In Harmony Project in England, The University of South Africa, and The Teatro De Bellas Artes in Cali, Colombia. The ensemble’s residency in Havana, Cuba for the Cuban American Youth Orchestra in January 2019, was the first by an American string quartet since the revolution. The Catalyst Quartet members hold degrees from The Cleveland Institute of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, Juilliard School, and New England Conservatory. The Catalyst Quartet proudly endorses Pirastro strings.

 “Like all great chamber groups, the Catalyst Quartet is beautiful to watch, like a family in lively conversation at the dinner table: anticipating, interrupting, changing subjects.” – The New York Times


Nora Chastain, violin (Hertz Hall Adams soloist, student of Anne Crowden)

American violinist Nora Chastain was described by Sir Yehudi Menuhin as “… of the most elegant and refined violinists I know.”

The granddaughter of American composer Roy Harris, Ms. Chastain was born in Berkeley, California. After beginning her violin studies with Anne Crowden, she continued at the Cincinnati Conservatory and the Julliard School with Dorothy Delay. Later, at the International Menuhin Music Academy Gstaad, she was a student of Alberto Lysy, Ana Chumachenco and Sir Yehudi Menuhin. She also worked intensively with Sandor Vegh.

 At age sixteen, Ms. Chastain made her debut in Berlin with Barber Violin Concerto. Since then, she has been a regular guest soloist with such orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Cincinnati Philharmonia, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Basel Chamber Orchestra, Württemburgisches Kammerorcheter Heilbronn, Orquestra Nacional do Porto, MDR Symphonieorchester Leipzig, Frankfurt Opera Orchestra, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Bern Symphony Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Peru. She has worked with conductors such as Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Sebastian Weigle, Jose Serebrier, Michael Sanderling, David Stern and Marc Tardue. In addition, many composers have written works for Ms. Chastain, among them Daniel Schnyder, Gerhard Samuel, Susanna Erding, and Georg Wörzer.

 An avid chamber music player, Ms. Chastain is a founding member of the Menuhin Festival Piano Quartet and Trio Kreisleriana. With them, she has toured extensively, playing in concert halls in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn, Paris, Milano, Zürich, Geneva, Edinburgh, Washington DC, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Sydney.

 Her chamber groups have performed at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestpiele, Schwetzingen Festspielen and Menuhin Festival Gstaad.  She has collaborated in chamber music projects with, among others, Sharon Kam, David Geringas, Pascal Devoyon, Joshua Bell as well as with the Faure Piano Quartet, the Carmina Quartet, and the Merel Quartet.


Bonnie Hampton, (Hertz Hall artist, Crowden Music Advisory Board member, longtime Crowden mentor)

Bonnie Hampton, the globally acclaimed cellist and pedagogue, is a member of Crowden’s Music Advisory Board and has been a mentor and frequent coach since the school’s founding. In 1964, Bonnie was a founding member of the acclaimed Francesco Trio, which won the Naumburg Chamber Award, and attained a Residency at Stanford University. In 1972, Bonnie joined the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she taught for 30 years. During her tenure, Bonnie started the Conservatory’s Masters Degree in Chamber Music, the first of its kind in the nation. She spent nine years in New York in order to accept a teaching contract with Julliard. Bonnie is now living, teaching, and mentoring a new generation of students in her native Bay Area.


Friction Quartet (Hertz Hall artist, cellist on faculty, frequent Crowden guest artists)

Friction Quartet, whose performances have been called “terribly beautiful” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “stunningly passionate” (Calgary Herald) and “exquisitely skilled” (ZealNYC), exists to modernize the chamber music experience and expand the string quartet repertoire. Friction achieves its mission by commissioning new works, curating imaginative programs, collaborating with artists, and presenting interactive educational outreach. Joshua Kosman (San Francisco Chronicle) declared that Friction Quartet is “an artist who should be discovered” and described their performance as “high-octane music making…a fine blend of rhythmic ferocity and tonal flair.”

Friction made their debut at Carnegie Hall in 2016 as participants in the Kronos Quartet Fifty for the Future Workshop. They returned in March of 2018 to perform George Crumb’s Black Angels as part of “The 60’s” festival and their performance was described as, “one of the truest and most moving things I’ve ever heard or seen.” (Zeal NYC).

 Since forming in 2011, Friction has commissioned 43 works for string quartet and given world premiere performances of more than 80 works. They developed the Friction Commissioning Initiative in 2017 as a way to work together with their audience to fund specific commissions. The $14,000 raised to date has helped Friction commission a total of 12 new works, including six by young composers between the ages 16 and 21. They were awarded a 2019 Intermusic SF Musical Grant to develop a participatory educational program with composer Danny Clay that is designed to be accessible and sensory-friendly. The project is slated to premiere in the Fall of 2020 at the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco. Friction’s past grants include a grant from Chamber Music America that was used to commission a piano quintet from Andy Akiho, which debuted in November 2016, as well as project grants from Intermusic SF and Zellerbach Family Foundation supporting special projects involving the performance of commissioned works.

 While Friction has garnered international attention as commissioners and interpreters of new music, they are also devoted to performing masterworks of the string quartet repertoire at the highest level. They won Second Prize in the 2016 Schoenfeld Competition, they were quarter-finalists in the 2015 Fischoff Competition and placed second at the 2015 Frances Walton Competition.

 Friction has held residencies at the New Music for Strings Festival in Denmark, Interlochen Arts Camp, Lunenburg Academy of Music in Nova Scotia, Napa Valley Performing Arts Center, Old First Concerts, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and was the first ensemble in residence at the Center for New Music.  Friction Quartet is dedicated to building new audiences for contemporary music through interactive musical enrichment programs. They are participating for the third consecutive year in the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music program, visiting over 60 public schools annually.  They are Ensemble Partners with Young Composers & Improvisors Workshop, workshopping and premiering new works written by young composers in the Bay Area. They have also given presentations at Oakland public schools through KDFC’s Playground Pop Up program. In collaboration with Meridian Hill Pictures, they created a short documentary, titled Friction, that profiles their early educational outreach in Washington DC’s Mundo Verde Public Charter School. Their presentations regularly utilize Doug’s adventurous arrangements of Pop songs alongside excerpts from standard string quartet repertoire to help young audiences build connections to musical concepts.

Friction appears on recordings with National Sawdust Tracks, Innova Records, Albany Records, Pinna Records, and many independent releases. They released their full-length debut album, resolve, in 2018 through Bandcamp. Friction has appeared on radio stations such as NPR, KALW, KING-FM, and KUT, among others.

 Friction’s video of the second movement of First Quartet by John Adams was named the #2 video of the year in 2015 by Second Inversion. John Adams shared this video on his own homepage and called it “spectacular.” Their video for Andy Akiho’s In/ Exchange, featuring Friction and Akiho, was also chosen by Second Inversion for their Top 5 videos of 2016. The video was also featured on American Public Media’s Performance Today.

 Friction Quartet takes risks to enlarge the audience’s understanding of what a string quartet can be using arrangements of pop music, digital processing, percussion, amplification, movement, and additional media. Their multimedia and interdisciplinary projects have received critical acclaim. In 2017 they produced Spaced Out, an evening-length suite of music about the cosmos that utilizes surround sound electronics and includes a Friction Commission written by Jon Kulpa. San Francisco Classical Voice called it “accessible, yet surreal.” No matter where their musical exploration takes them, they never lose sight of the string quartet’s essence–the timeless and endlessly nuanced interaction of four analog voices.


Fry Street Quartet (Sundays @ Four artist, summer faculty)

This remarkable quartet – hailed as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the New York Times – is a multi-faceted ensemble taking chamber music in new directions. The quartet has reached audiences from Carnegie Hall to London, and Sarajevo to Jerusalem, exploring the medium of the string quartet and its life-affirming potential with “profound understanding…depth of expression, and stunning technical astuteness” (Deseret Morning News).

 With a discography that includes a wide range of works from Haydn and Beethoven to Stravinsky, Rorem, and Kaminsky, the quartet is known for being “Equally at home in the classic repertoire of Mozart and Beethoven or contemporary music,” (Palm Beach Daily News). The FSQ has commissioned and toured new works by a wide range of composers, and upcoming commissions include quartets by Clarice Assad, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Laura Kaminsky. After more than 50 performances in three different countries, Rising Tide: The Crossroads Project continues to resonate with audiences. A collaboration with physicist Dr. Robert Davies, this fresh approach to communicating society’s sustainability challenges draws upon all the senses with a unique blend of science and art. A film version of the project was released in fall of 2020.

 The quartet’s touring history includes performances at major venues and festivals, and for distinguished series such as Carnegie Hall and the Schneider Series at the New School in New York, the Jewel Box series in Chicago, Chamber Music Columbus, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, the DiBartolo Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame, the Theosophical Society in London, and the Mozart Gemeinde in Klagenfurt, Austria.

 The Fry Street Quartet holds the Dan C. and Manon Caine Russell Endowed String Quartet Residency at the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University. In 2019 the members of the FSQ were named co-Music Directors of the NOVA Chamber Music Series in Salt Lake City, an appointment that continues through 2024.


Ariana Kim, violin (Hertz Hall artist, Crowden summer faculty)

Noted by The New York Times for giving “the proceedings an invaluable central thread of integrity and stylishness” and having “played with soulful flair,” violinist Ariana Kim made her New York recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall during her graduate studies at Juilliard and is now a tenured professor at Cornell University.  Together with the Aizuri Quartet, she was awarded the Gold Medal at the 2017 Osaka International Competition, the 2018 M-Prize, and a 2019 GRAMMY® nomination for their debut album, Blueprinting.  At 16, Ariana made her debut with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and at 24 was appointed acting concertmaster of the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans and has since become one of the most respected artists of her generation.

A recipient of a Cornell University Affinito-Stewart Faculty Grant and a Society for the Humanities Grant, Ariana released her first solo album Routes of Evanescence in December of 2015 which features works for solo violin and violin + 1 written by American women composers including Ruth Crawford Seeger, Augusta Read Thomas, and Jennifer Curtis.  While on sabbatic leave from Cornell in 2016, Ariana lived and worked in Italy, teaching at l’Istituto Stradivari, performing with Milano Classica, and curating a cultural diplomacy public art project involving the Cornell Composition Department, the Cornell Architecture Department, and a group of North African and Mid-East refugees.  She performed two solo recital tours in Northern and Central Italy featuring works from J.S. Bach to Elliott Carter to bluegrass fiddle tunes; she is set to return to her “home away from home” this coming summer for a solo appearance with Milano Classica at the Paesaggi Musicali Toscani – a festival for which she became the newly appointed Co-Artistic Director in August 2019.

The 2022-23 concert season will bring the world premiere of a new concerto for two violins by Laura Schwendinger that Ariana will premiere alongside Eleanor Bartsch with the Dubuque Symphony and University of Wisconsin-Madison Symphony, respectively, as well as bluegrass concerts with her new band String Theory, the Beethoven concerto with the Cambrian Symphony in San Jose, Scottish Fantasy with the Wayzata Symphony in Minneapolis, solo recitals in Florida, and a Cornell residency with Dawn Upshaw. She will also serve, for the first time, as the PBS and MPR host for This is Minnesota Orchestra live broadcasts in October and April.

Ariana now marks her 17th season with The Knights, a New York-based imaginative and diverse musical collective that performs programs ranging from string quartets to bluegrass tunes and world folk music, to the great chamber orchestra masterpieces of the 20th century.  In January of 2015, the group released its seventh album, …the ground beneath our feet – a collection of live performances from a recent U.S. tour – for Warner Classics, on which Ariana is a featured soloist in Steve Reich’s Duo for two violins and strings, alongside Guillaume Pirard; that track has since received much acclaim and was chosen as one of NPR’s “Songs We Love” for 2015.  The ensemble will begin a residency at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in the fall of 2023.

Ariana also served 10 seasons as a member of the New Yorker-acclaimed New York new music ensemble, Ne(x)tworks, which made their international debut at the John Cage Festival in Berlin performing Cage’s “Song Books” to a packed house alongside the Maulwerker Company in March 2013.  Their dedication to the interpretation of graphic scores, open notation and collective improvisation led to a rare recording of the chamber music of Earle Brown, available on MODE Records.

Raised in Minnesota by parents Ellen and Young-Nam who were her teachers from age 3 to 17, Ariana finds another musical home in her native Twin Cities as she is now in her 18th season with the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota.  Recent collaborations have included performances with Robert Mann, Fred Sherry, Peter Wiley, Samuel Rhodes, Nobuko Imai, Charles Neidich, and Leon Fleisher.  The proud educational wing of the Society, CMSMnext brings her to Twin Cities schools, conservatories, and community programs to offer presentations, outreach workshops and master classes.  She joined her father Young-Nam in a Co-Artistic Directorship of the CMSM in the 2019-2020 season.

Ariana has spent summers at Ravinia’s Steans Institute, Yellow Barn, and Orford Centre d’Arts.  A passionate pedagogue, Ariana spends much of the academic year teaching and mentoring a full studio of talented collegiate students at Cornell; this summer, she will join the faculty of the Palo Alto Chamber Music Workshop for the 20th consecutive year, the Northern Lights Chamber Music Institute for the 13th time, and the Crowden Music Center Chamber Music Institute for the sixth time.  She volunteers annually with the Title One school, Castillero Middle in San Jose, CA and has presented master classes throughout the U.S. and abroad at such institutions as Kent State University, The MacPhail Center, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ariana received her masters and doctorate from the Juilliard School under the tutelage of the late Robert Mann, her undergraduate degree from the San Francisco Conservatory with Ian Swensen and Camilla Wicks, and usually co-resides in Ithaca and New York City.  During the 2021 calendar year, she lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea studying ancient traditional Korean instruments and music, teaching as a visiting artist at Seoul National University, and rock-climbing many mountains.


David McCarroll (Crowden School ‘99, Hertz Hall Adams soloist)

David McCarroll has been appointed concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, holding the Rachel Mellon Walton Concertmaster Chair, beginning with the 2022-2023 season. He has been described by Musik Heute as “a violinist of mature musicality and deep understanding of his repertoire whose playing is distinguished by clarity of form and line.”

 Winner of the 2012 European Young Concert Artists Auditions, he made his concerto debut with the London Mozart Players in 2002 and has since appeared as soloist with many orchestras including the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich (Simone Young, Grafenegg), Hong Kong Sinfonietta (Christoph Poppen), Santa Rosa Symphony, and Philharmonie Zuidnederland. He regularly performs in major concert halls such as the Konzerthaus Berlin, Vienna Konzerthaus and Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw, Wigmore Hall, Library of Congress, Kennedy Center, 92nd Street Y, and Carnegie Hall, while his performances have been broadcast on many radio stations including WGBH Boston, WQXR New York, National Public Radio, Ö1, BR­-Klassik and the BBC.

 Also an active chamber musician, he served from 2015 to 2022 as the violinist of the renowned Vienna Piano Trio with whom he toured and recorded extensively. The Trio’s recording of the complete Brahms piano trios was awarded the 2017 Echo Klassik prize and in 2020 the Trio’s Beethoven recording won the Opus Klassik award.

 In addition, David has performed in many chamber ensembles with musicians including Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Miriam Fried, Pamela Frank, Anthony Marwood, Donald Weilerstein, Kim Kashkashian, Roger Tapping, Marcy Rosen, Peter Wiley, Charles Neidich, Jörg Widmann, and Radovan Vlatkovic, while he is a regular guest at festivals such as Marlboro, the Schubertiade, Heidelberger Frühling, Grafenegg, Lucerne Festival, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Siete Lagos (Argentina), ChamberFest Cleveland, Portland Chamber Music Festival, and with the Israeli Chamber Project. Recent performances have included Stravinsky’s violin concerto at the Konzerthaus Berlin, touring with Musicians from Marlboro, and performances of György Kurtág’s “Kafka Fragments” for violin and soprano.

 In demand as a teacher, David taught a full violin class for one year at Salzburg’s Mozarteum University, and has taught both violin and chamber music at Ravinia’s Steans Institute, at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and at the San Francisco Conservatory.

 David was born in Santa Rosa, California in 1986 and began studying the violin with Helen Payne Sloat at the age of 4. At 8, he attended the Crowden School of Music in Berkeley studying with Anne Crowden. When David was 13, he received an invitation to join an international group of 60 young music students at the Yehudi Menuhin School outside London where he studied for five years with Simon Fischer. David continued his studies with Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston receiving a Master’s degree, and with Antje Weithaas in the Konzertexamen (Artist Diploma) program at the Hanns Eisler Academy in Berlin.

 In addition to music, David maintains an active interest in social concerns, including the needs of those impacted by the AIDS pandemic; he is currently working on projects of the Starcross Community to help AIDS orphans in Africa.  David has performed in programs encouraging world peace promoted by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and has given benefit concerts for Doctors Without Borders. With other members of his family, David has worked to get strings to young music students in Cuba where such items are very difficult to obtain.  David plays a 1761 violin made by A&J Gagliano.


Abigail Rogansky (Crowden School ‘03, Hertz Hall performer)

Praised for her “dark tone” and “vibrant musicality” (Calgary Herald), Abigail Rojansky celebrates her tenth season as violist and founding member of the Verona Quartet, recipients of the 2020 Cleveland Quartet Award. Having participated in numerous festivals including Chamber Music Northwest, LaJolla SummerFest and Bravo! Vail, Abigail performs across North America and abroad including venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Kennedy Center and Melbourne Recital Hall. 


Gabriella Smith (Crowden School ’05, John Adams Young Composers Program, commissioned composer)

Composer Gabriella Smith grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area playing and writing music, hiking, backpacking, and volunteering on a songbird research project. Described as “the coolest, most exciting, most inventive new voice I’ve heard in ages” (Musical America) and an “outright sensation” (LA Times), Gabriella’s music comes from a love of play, exploring new sounds on instruments, building compelling musical arcs, and connecting listeners with the natural world in an invitation to find joy in climate action. Recent highlights include the premiere of her organ concerto, Breathing Forests, written for James McVinnie and LA Phil, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen; performances of Tumblebird Contrails by San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen, both at home and on their European tour; and the release of her first full-length album, Lost Coast, recorded in Iceland with cellist Gabriel Cabezas, named one of NPR Music’s “26 Favorite Albums Of 2021 (So Far)” and a “Classical Album to Hear Right Now” by The New York Times. Gabriel and Gabriella have since debuted a (cello-violin-voice-electronics) duo version of Lost Coast at the Philharmonie de Paris, and in May 2023 Gabriel premiered the cello concerto version of Lost Coast with LA Phil, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.


Audrey Vardanega (Hertz Hall performer, Crowden School ’09)

Praised as a “[musically] eloquent” (San Francisco Classical Voice) player “with the kind of freedom, authority, and strength…that one expects from the world’s finest pianists” and a “bewitching musical presence” (The Piedmont Post), American pianist and arts entrepreneur Audrey Vardanega (b.1995) has performed as a solo and collaborative pianist across Europe, China, and the United States.

 In response to her passion for bringing artists together for opportunities for performance, the creation of new work, and interdisciplinary collaboration, Audrey founded Musaics of the Bay in 2019. Musaics is a nonprofit chamber music series dedicated to connecting musicians, composers, and visual artists for collaborations, residency programs, mentorship, and the creation of new work in the Bay Area and beyond. From March 2020 to April 2021, Musaics of the Bay presented “The Stay-at-Home Symposium,” commissioning over 75 new works of music inspired by community-submitted artwork. The Symposium involved over 100 artists from around the world, including performers, composers, poets, filmmakers, painters, photographers, and more, for virtual collaboration.

 Audrey, along with pianist/composer Christos Vayenas, is the co-founder and COO of Arium TV. She also serves as the Director of Operations for The Autumn Salon, an invite-only Salon series based in NYC and Boston. The Autumn Salon is devoted to bringing together world-class musicians with audiences in intimate settings. Audrey is passionate about providing emerging artists with opportunities to shape their own artistic careers by creating new communities and reimagining patronage.

 Audrey made her debut as a soloist with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra at the age of 11 and her debut with the Midsummer Mozart Festival under the baton of the late Maestro George Cleve in 2010, 2012, and 2013, becoming the youngest soloist in the history of the festival. She made her solo recital debut at the age of 12 on the Bouchaine Young Artists Series with Festival Napa Valley in California. Audrey has also been interviewed and featured on various media outlets including KQED San Francisco, Berkeley’s “Piano” segment on KPFA 94.1, KALW San Francisco Local Public Radio, San Francisco’s Classical KDFC,  the Hangzhou China Central TV Station, the San Francisco Classical Voice, and New York’s WWFM, among others. She has performed at the Hangzhou Grand Theater, The Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd, MN, Princeton University Concerts, The Tippet Rise Arts Center, Festival Napa Valley, the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music, the Teatro del Libertador San Martín in Córdoba, Argentina, The Ravinia Festival, Gordon Music Series in Tampa, FL, Matinee Musicale in Duluth, MN, The Santa Cruz Symphony, San Francisco’s Old First Concerts Series, San Francisco’s Herbst Theater, Musaics of the Bay, Festival del Sole Napa Valley, Rockefeller University’s Tri-Institutional Noon Concerts Series, the Valley of the Moon Music Festival, Santa Cruz’s “Distinguished Artists Concert and Lecture Series,” and more. Audrey won a Bay Area Audience Choice Award in August 2021 for her performance of Beethoven’s A Major Cello Sonata with cellist Tanya Tomkins and the Valley of the Moon Music Festival.

Audrey was born and raised in Oakland, California and began her piano studies at the age of six with Araks Aghazarian. She began formal piano training with Robert Schwartz at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 2002 to 2013 as well as formal composition training with Arkadi Serper at the Berkeley Crowden School from 2004 to 2013. Her past instructors include Seymour Lipkin, Jeremy Siepmann, Christopher Elton and Victor Rosenbaum. Audrey earned her B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University in May 2017 and received her Masters in Music in May 2019 from Mannes The New School under the tutelage of Richard Goode. When Audrey’s not playing piano or organizing concerts, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her shih-tzu and morkie, Romeo and Bear.

Union Square Alliance Announces Selection ofField Operations and Sitelab Urban Studio

Media contact:  DP&A, Inc. / David Perry / (415) 676-7007 /

Union Square Alliance Announces Selection of
Field Operations and Sitelab Urban Studio
to Create New Vision for Powell Street in Union Square 

26 January 2024 – San Francisco, CA: The Union Square Alliance ( selected a design team composed of Field Operations and Sitelab Urban Studio to reimagine the look and feel of Powell Street between Market and Geary Streets.  Field Operations is renowned as the design team behind the groundbreaking High Line in New York City and locally is known for designing the award-winning Tunnel Tops Park in the Presidio.  Sitelab Urban Studio is a highly respected San Francisco-based urban design firm responsible for several transformational local projects including the proposed mixed-use redevelopment of Stonestown Mall and the Pier 70 waterfront redevelopment.

This critical project is made possible through $4 million in funding announced last summer by Mayor London Breed and Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.  

“Powell Street is the heart of one of the most important and historic districts in our City,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed.  “Bringing energy and investment to this corridor will help lift up all of Union Square and I am excited to see the vision for its future.”

“Powell Street is where San Francisco’s past merges with its future, accompanied by the iconic clang of the cable car bell,” said Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.  “I’m looking forward to working with this talented design team and the community to see what that future might look like- hopefully an activated and accessible public realm that welcomes visitors to this historic square and downtown destination.”

The re-envisioning of Powell is a key component of the Union Square Alliance’s Strategic Plan, released in late 2022, calling for “replacing the aged promenade to transform Powell Street into a unique cable car-centered promenade between Market and Geary or Post Streets.”

“We are so grateful to Mayor Breed and Board President Peskin for supporting this critical project,” said Marisa Rodriguez, CEO of the Union Square Alliance.  “Powell is the backbone and gateway to the Union Square District and home of the historic cable cars, a symbol of San Francisco.  A revitalized public realm on Powell Street is a key component of our strategy to attract businesses, restaurants and cultural experiences back to Union Square and downtown.”

In February the Field Operations and Sitelab team will begin working with the City, the Alliance and Union Square stakeholders to put together a vision for a beautiful, durable, and cost-effective design for the first three blocks of Powell.  We expect initial designs to be ready by the middle of this year.  

“We are delighted to be selected for the reimagining of Powell Street,” said Richard Kennedy, Partner at Field Operations. “For many, Powell Street is a gateway to San Francisco: a point of departure to connect to the City’s history, its topography and vistas, its downtown and waterfront. Our hope for the project is to leverage this powerful position to open-up, unlock and reinvigorate our collective optimism about the future of San Francisco’s downtown.”

“The reimagining of the iconic Powell Street corridor is a natural next step in our continued efforts to champion downtown revitalization in our cities,” said Laura Crescimano, Principal and Cofounder of SITELAB urban studio.  “It is an honor to be selected, in partnership with Field Operations, to not only refresh the streetscape into a destination that celebrates the area’s rich heritage and architecture,  but inspires new experiences.”  

About Union Square Alliance:
The Union Square Alliance serves members and creates a high-quality visitor experience by managing and activating public spaces, attracting new investment, and advocating for the district’s future success. Union Square is the vibrant heart of San Francisco, an international destination where visitors enjoy exceptional retail experiences, luxury hotels, world-class cultural institutions, and great public spaces found only in the City by the Bay. A lively 27-block community surrounding Union Square Park in the heart of San Francisco makes up the Union Square Alliance. It is bordered on the north by Bush Street, on the east by Kearny Street, on the south by Market Street, and on the west by Taylor Street. For more information on the Alliance, go to 


Hotel Council of San Francisco Elects  Seven New Board Members

Media Contact:  DP&A, Inc / David Perry / (415) 676-7007 /

Hotel Council of San Francisco Elects  Seven New Board Members 

25 January 2024 – San Francisco, CA:  Heading into a pivotal year in the recovery and expansion of San Francisco’s hospitality economy, the Hotel Council of San Francisco ( has added to its board with the election of seven new seasoned industry professionals: Peter Hart (Hilton Union Square/Parc55); Rodrigo Ibanez (Omni Hotel); Kunal Juneja (J.W. Marriott); Isabelle Matter (The Clift Royal Sonesta); Pulkesin Mohan (Taj Campton Place); Emily Nichols (Kimpton Alton Hotel); Jeffery Ossenkop (W Hotel San Francisco)

“San Francisco is blessed with a deep bench of world class hospitality professionals,” said Alex Bastian, President & CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. “San Francisco is at a pivotal moment in its history, and we must put the city first and work together. These incoming board members are committed to that collective mission.”

Raymond Vermolen, Chair of the Nominations Committee for the Hotel Council noted that the new incoming board members “exemplify the full cross section of our hospitality community. Every board member has a unique lens and is joining us from a different set of work and life experiences.” He continued: “The cross section represents different parts of the city, different sized hotels, and different approaches to our work. We are excited about what we will achieve as a Board of Directors with their collective input.”

Below is a full list of the newly elected board members for the Hotel Council of San Francisco.

 Kunal Juneja 
JW Marriott San Francisco

Kunal is a hotelier working to create memories of a lifetime for guests and associates. His expertise includes opening new hotels, operating luxury and high-volume premium hotels, renovation, data analysis & interpretation, development and implementation of new ideas. He enjoys generating new ideas, devising feasible solutions to relevant problems, empowering and supporting the teams. His colleagues would describe him as a driven, resourceful individual who can maintain positive, proactive attitude when faced with challenges.

 Emily Nichols
Kimpton Alton Hotel

Emily Nichols is the General Manager of the Kimpton Alton Hotel, where she oversees operations of the 248-room hotel designed in partnership with Kara Mann in the city’s iconic neighborhood of Fisherman’s Wharf. Emily Nichols joins the Kimpton Alton Hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf as General Manager following experience in San Francisco as the General Manager of the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in Japantown. She previously served as the Assistant General Manager at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in Union Square. Emily brings nearly 15 years of experience in hospitality from hotels across the country—her background includes numerous task force stints including in Mendocino, CA and Palm Beach, FL. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Emily spent time in New York City as the Director of Operations for Dream Hotel Group and the Area Rooms Division Manager for Amsterdam Hospitality. Prior to that, Emily was General Manager for Kahler Hospitality Group in Rochester, Minnesota, where she oversaw all daily operations for the Residence Inn by Marriott. Emily has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Metro Urban Studies, with a minor in Sociology from Augsburg University. Emily is a coffee aficionado and—no surprise here—loves traveling as well as caring for her plant collection. Her favorite places visited to date are Croatia and Barcelona.

 Rodrigo Ibanez
Omni Hotel San Francisco

Rodrigo Ibanez was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he studied Hospitality Management. He moved to New York in 2004 with his wife and their one-year-old daughter. He has been happily married with three children (1 girl and 2 boys), and currently resides in San Francisco, CA; after spending 12 years in Irvine. He enjoys playing and watching soccer, as well as riding his motorcycle, and he is also an avid golfer. He has over 20 years of experience in operations. He is focused mostly on guest and employee experience. He is currently the General Manager at the Omni Hotel San Francisco.This is his third time with Omni; during his last 18 years he has spent time between Omni Hotels & Resorts and Terranea Resort. He worked for Omni Hotels & Resorts in Los Angeles, Austin and now San Francisco, and he has held different roles at all three properties within the company in three different markets. With Terranea, he was part of the opening team and held four different roles during his tenure with them, his most recent being Executive Director of Resort Operations, leading all operations, reopening after COVID-19, member of the Strategy Committee and chair of the Executive Committee, reporting directly to the President. Prior to Omni and Terranea Resort, he had roles with The Luxury Collection from Starwood Hotels & Resorts (both in Argentina and New York), Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Westin. While he is very involved in the strategy behind providing guests and associates with the best experience, he is a very hands-on leader who coaches and leads by example. It is key for him to understand the roadblocks to help remove them. He is a problem solver and thrives in a high pace, all-hands-on-deck environment.

Isabelle Matter
The Clift Royal Sonesta San Francisco

Isabelle Matter is a hospitality professional with hotel and travel industry experience, including general management of hotels. She has lifestyle/boutique hotel experience as well as resorts and larger brands. Highly focused on the customer experience, she works towards creating a meaningful connection with the customer and associates alike. Isabelle spent several years working in the Silicon Valley, in a dynamic corporate environment, and she is also familiar with other markets, including San Francisco, and a diverse client base. She is dedicated to developing positive long-lasting relationships with all stakeholders and focused on guest management service, as the industry is all about service, and about creating a unique experience for all.

Jeffery Ossenkop
W Hotel San Francisco

Jeff Ossenkop brings more than 22 years of hospitality leadership experience to his role, having most recently served as general manager at The Tremont House – A Tribute Portfolio in Galveston, Texas. Jeff initially joined the Canopy brand in 2019 during the launch of the luxurious Canopy by Hilton Austin Downtown, where he played a pivotal role in curating the onsite dining programs. Jeff boasts an extensive background in boutique and luxury hospitality, including a 13-year tenure with Starwood Hotels & Resorts under the luxury-lifestyle brand, W Hotels, where he was assigned task force for new builds and transitions in DC, Ft. Lauderdale, Scottsdale and San Francisco markets. Additionally, Jeff has served on various boards including the Board of Moody Gardens, Board of directors for Austin Hotel & Lodging and Galveston Hotel & Lodging, and as an appointed official for the Park Board of Trustees for Galveston, Texas.

 Pulkesin Mohan
Taj Campton Place San Francisco

A highly motivated leader with over 21 years of leading hotel operations (luxury, heritage, resort, business), revenue and resource management, Pulkesin has actively led the dynamic business development across India and Sri Lanka. He enjoys varied challenging projects including pre-opening and well-established systems utilizing my expertise with strong interpersonal skills & proven abilities to deliver results through strong work ethic and team building towards service and operational excellence. Pulkesin possesses a unique blend of leadership, marketing expertise, and financial acumen within the hotel industry. He excels in guest and public relations, fostering multicultural team development and driving operational improvements. His community engagement and corporate social responsibility efforts reflect a commitment beyond business. He is skilled in managing owner-property relationships and ensuring quality labor relations. Furthermore, his leadership is characterized by a focus on performance metrics, creating an enriched work environment, and effective stakeholder management. Overall, he is known for his leadership, excellence, efficiency, ethics, and compassion in this dynamic industry.

Peter Hart
Complex General Manager – Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 San Francisco, A Hilton Hotel

Peter Hart is responsible for overseeing the operations of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, which has 1,921 rooms and 160,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as the Parc 55, which has 1,024 rooms and 23 meeting rooms. Peter brings with him a wealth of industry experience, having held important roles in various hotels across the Bay Area since joining Hilton in 2003. In his most recent position as complex hotel manager at the San Francisco hotels, Peter demonstrated his ability to achieve positive outcomes, enhance the guest experience, and maintain high levels of Team Member satisfaction.

The Hotel Council of San Francisco is a non-profit membership-based organization advocating for the economic and social vitality of the hospitality industry in San Francisco. Their membership roster includes over 200 hotels, allied members, and partner organizations. The Hotel Council is dedicated to protecting the San Francisco hospitality industry and connecting its members to support the growth and success of the industry.