Don't Miss This: Music at Crowden

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Monday July 26, 2010 - 06:53:00 PM

A long time Berkeley resident, I venture to say that over the years I must have driven past the Crowden Music Center dozens of times. I've always been attracted to this handsome building at Rose and Sacramento Streets, but until this past Saturday had never entered its hallowed halls. Then came an invitation to attend a Chamber Music Workshop Recital at which my friend, Debbie Carton, and a bevy of youthful, extraordinarily talented young musicians presented a marvelous program of traditional and modern composers, from Handel and Brahms to a Jazz/Improvisation Ensemble arranged by Jeremy Cohen. 

Founded by violinist Anne Crowden in 1983, the academic program at the Center is designed to help students achieve intellectual and emotional maturity through the development of analytical and critical thinking. It includes technique classes, chamber music coaching, music history and theory. Students may enter the fourth and fifth grades as beginners. The primary goal is to give children a first-class education in balance with their musical needs. Through coaching, rehearsal and performance, students form an enduring bond with their peers within this very special community. The first of its kind in the nation, Crowden School remains a place unlike any other. Contributing to its success are staff members Heidi Mattson, Admissions Coordinator, Jamie Jim, Program Associate and Lisa Grodin, Chamber Music Workshop Coordinator. 

A very special program offered at the Center this coming week, July 29 - August 1, is the Summer Suzuki Workshop. Renowned guest faculty from Suzuki programs throughout the nation come together at Crowden to share their experience with young musicians in this intensive and fun immersion experience. Daily activities include master classes, repertoire, technique and enrichment classes, which are intended for students already studying violin, viola, or cello with a Suzuki teacher. 

In describing the importance of the Crowden Music Center, John Adams, world-famous Berkeley composer, states: 

"To say that the Crowden School is a treasure may sound like an exaggeration, but in fact that extraordinary school has no peer in American musical education."