San Francisco Conservatory and Ballet Create New Fellowship for Black Musicians

The fellowship will provide tuition, housing, and a stipend for SFCM’s one-year Professional Studies Certificate in Instrumental Performance

(Photo credit: Erik Tomasson)


The selected musicians will also get the opportunity to rehearse and perform with the Grammy Award-winning SF Ballet Orchestra, as well participating in chamber concerts, leadership training, and activities with local schools.

The SFCM Professional Studies Certificate in Instrumental Performance provides advanced, focused curriculum that emphasizes individual instruction and preparation for a performance career. Each fellow will also be invited to mock auditions and will receive financial support for professional auditions.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity for highly-talented musicians and a welcome pathway to help diversify our field,” said SFCM Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Special Advisor to the President Jason Hainsworth. “What’s more, this will be truly transformational for students, the Ballet, and the Conservatory in terms of building a diverse musical community.”

Applications are due on February 1, 2022. The SF Ballet and SFCM anticipate accepting up to two fellows in string instruments for the initial year of the program in Fall 2022. There is no fee to apply; for more information, click here.

The fellowship is named after SF Ballet’s former Music Director Denis de Coteau, who also served on faculty at SFCM. He joined SF Ballet in 1968 and served as its music director and conductor from 1974 to 1998 — before being appointed music director emeritus in recognition of his leadership of the world-reknowned ballet orchestra. Passing away in 1999, he was also conductor emeritus and a faculty member at SFCM and was known for his work with youth orchestras, including the Oakland Youth Symphony.

“We are tremendously excited to partner with the SFCM on this project,” said SF Ballet Orchestra Music Director Martin West. “By welcoming the fellows into our Orchestra we hope to give them extraordinary experiences that will help them be successful in their careers and begin building a pipeline to better diversify our profession.”