BERKELEY, CA – California Jazz Conservatory (CJC) — the nation’s only independent, fully accredited music conservatory devoted to the study of jazz and related styles of music — will nearly double its campus size in 2016, it was announced today by Susan Muscarella, founding President of the CJC and Jazzschool Community Music School. Having achieved accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) in 2013, enrollment and demand in both the degree-granting program and community music school has exceeded the institution’s capacity at its home site at 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA. The additional facilities will be located across the street at 2040 Addison Street in the heart of Berkeley’s burgeoning Downtown Arts District.
“The pursuit of jazz education has advanced tremendously in the past decade,” comments Susan Muscarella. “We are greatly privileged to be a part of this growth, and also feel a sense of responsibility for stewarding the next generation of jazz artists and audiences. With the confluence of circumstances that the CJC currently benefits from—accreditation, participation in the Federal Student Aid and F-1 Visa programs, international recruitment, and curriculum growth—we are positioned at a unique moment in time to seize the opportunity for campus expansion. This would not be possible without the generosity of our lead donors, Kathi Rendon and John Kainlauri, who share our vision to deepen the CJC’s impact on the field. “
Eminent Bay Area architect Donn Logan will design renovations to the approximately 6,000 square foot space to include needed class and practice rooms, a large ensemble rehearsal room, keyboard lab, a library/conference room, offices, and a café open to the public. The facilities will be acoustically enhanced throughout with Meyer Sound’s Libra panels, each featuring images by photographer Deborah O’Grady.
A chief feature of the new campus will be a 100-seat performance space, which will complement the CJC’s existing concert venue at the parent site, Hardymon Hall. The new hall will be named in honor of longtime student and lead donor Kathi Rendon, as Rendon Hall, and modeled in the spirit of Minton’s Playhouse, the renowned Harlem nightclub founded in 1938 by tenor saxophonist Henry Minton. The concept pays homage to Minton’s vision to provide jazz musicians with a supportive environment for creative self-expression, and whose generosity and progressive philosophy played a major role in the development of bebop, the foundation of modern jazz.
The CJC’s expanded complex will further bolster the ecology of Berkeley’s robust arts corridor that includes Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Aurora Theater, and the Arts Passage.
Renovations for CJC’s expansion at 2040 Addison Street to support students, faculty, staff, and audience are projected at $1.2 million. Lead gifts from Kathi Rendon and John Kainlauri, as well as other major contributors, have provided the fundamental “seed” investment for the improvement costs. The CJC now enters the public phase of the building campaign to raise the balance of $600K, which will be supported by individual contributions, corporate, city, and state funding, and general revenues.
Individual contributors will be recognized with their names on a musical note in a sculptural representation of Thelonious Monk’s revered composition, ‘Round Midnight. This permanent art installation will be created by Eclipse Design and exhibited on the east wall of Rendon Hall. ‘Round Midnight was chosen for its historical significance in the life of Minton’s Playhouse, as Monk served as the venue’s first house pianist, and it was there that he and such iconic jazz masters as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Max Roach held regular jam sessions that gave rise to bebop. ‘Round Midnight will reflect varying sponsorship levels, with the donors name ascribed to notes that comprise the sculpture: i.e. Whole note at $50,000, Dotted half note at $25,000, Half note at $10,000, etc.
Founded as the Jazzschool in 1997, and initially housed in a two-story landmark in downtown Berkeley, the CJC is home to both the post-secondary degree granting program (the Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Studies); and a non-degree-granting community education program (the Jazzschool Community Music School). The CJC moved to its current location at 2087 Addison Street in the historic Kress Building in 2002. The CJC promotes artistic innovation by bringing together a dynamic community of students, artists, educators, scholars, and audiences to develop practical skills, acquire artistic sensibility, realize creative potential, and find artistic voice. The first class of the Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Studies program enrolled in 2009, with the first graduates emerging in 2012. The Jazzschool Community Music School is enrolled quarterly at a capacity exceeding 500 students.
The CJC is a participant in the Federal Student Aid program, which provides eligible students with Federal tuition assistance; and in the F-1 Visa program, which allows international students to reside in the United States for the duration of their studies. The CJC recruits internationally through the Stellar Jam International Big Band Festival in Japan; the University of Évora in Portugal; and the Hockschüle für Musik Osnabrück in Germany.