Conservatory of Music is about passion and giving back


La Jolla Conservatory of Music, whose primary mission is to provide an environment for student musicians to explore chamber and ensemble music, will hold an open house on Aug. 11 at the La Jolla Library.

Founded five years ago by international concert arranger Michael See, manager of the Conservatory, the organization aspires to be a pioneer in the development of pedagogical chamber music.

The Conservatory consists of the La Jolla Sinfonietta, the La Jolla Children’s Choir and the Chamber Orchestra.

“Since it was founded, we have successfully trained and graduated 12 seniors to pursue college music programs,” said Dr. Kathleen Kranz, president of the Conservatory.

In addition to teaching the kids musical skills, the Conservatory is also intent on teaching the kids self-control.

“I’m a former military officer and very disciplined,” See said. “I tell the kids: ‘If we do something, we must do it well.’”

The Conservatory has musical concerts at venues around San Diego including libraries, retirement homes, charity leagues and special events. The La Jolla Sinfonietta, under the direction of Vladimir Goltman, is for seventh grade through high school students. The small group provides symphonic repertoire through chamber performances.

“The group can vary in artists at different times,” Kranz said. “So there might be two violinists and a pianist, and it’s up to Mr. Goltman to come up with a musical arrangement for those three musicians.”

The La Jolla Children’s Choir, under the direction of James Miles, enables children in two different choirs (10 and older; 10 and younger) to collaborate on different choral repertoires with varied accompaniments.

Anyone can become a student of the Conservatory.

“Students go through two auditions, and more than musical skills, they must express a sincere interest in the program,” Kranz said. “Then the parents are interviewed because this is a serious program that requires their commitment as well. All three of our groups require team efforts. The Sinfonietta can’t play if the violinist is not present. So our rule is if a student misses two rehearsals, he’s gone.”

Teachers at the non-profit Conservatory are volunteers. Students may come into the program through private teachers. There is a nominal fee to participate in the program based on a student’s ability to pay.

Students are also required to enroll in the National Music Certificate Program (NMCP). Kranz, who earned a doctorate in music from UCSD and a master’s in piano performance from Florida State University, is a piano examiner for NMCP.

“We require our students to be at least a grade four graduate of that program, which is equivalent to a student’s average sixth year of studying music,” Kranz said. “This helps them become more literate about music.”

In addition to becoming accomplished musicians, See has other agendas for students at the Conservatory.

“We also want the students to realize they are not here for the glory, but to have a place to perform and to share our passions,” he said. “We train them to talk in front of groups, learn how to present themselves and basically take charge.”

Kranz shares See’s enthusiasm for students to excel at their craft.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Mozart or something else - it’s exciting to see the children involved in the process of making music,” Kranz said.

          La Jolla Conservatory of Music’s Open House1 to 3 p.m., Aug. 11; FreeLa Jolla Library, 7555 Draper Ave.(619_300-7569