California Jazz Conservatory Marks “Dawn of a New Decade” with Opening of Jerry Fiddler Annex and Weeklong Series of Grand Opening Concerts
California Jazz Conservatory Marks “Dawn of a New Decade” with Opening of Jerry Fiddler Annex and Weeklong Series of Grand Opening Concerts
February 20, 2018 | CJC News

February 20, 2018; Berkeley, California; The California Jazz Conservatory, the only independent, accredited school in America completely devoted to the study and performance of jazz, has announced the “Dawn of a New Decade”––­­a weeklong series of concerts and events celebrating the launch of the third decade of the iconic Berkeley jazz education institution.

Established in 1997 as the Jazzschool, a year-round community music education program, the California Jazz Conservatory has grown into an accredited, independent college offering a 4-year Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies degree (since 2009) and a new Associate of Arts Degree in Jazz Studies (since 2017), as well as continuing to offer its popular Jazzschool classes, workshops, summer jazz camps and intensives––a 20-year tradition of leadership in music education in the Berkeley arts community.

With the advent of its third decade, the Conservatory is taking significant steps to expand its programs and grow its facilities, plans and partnerships.

The most visible addition to the organization’s future is the Conservatory’s new 5,550 square foot annex––located at 2040 Addison Street, directly across the street from CJC’s current location––named in honor of CJC board member Jerry Fiddler. Jerry Fiddler Annex will more than double the size and scope of the Conservatory’s facilities and offerings, adding new classrooms, state-of-the-art practice facilities, a 16-station keyboard lab, and a new 100-seat performance venue, Rendon Hall. The expansion will also allow for the establishment of a much needed listening library, a new student lounge, and the addition of new office space.

The grand opening celebrations will commence on Saturday, February 24th, with an invitation-only party in honor of “those donors, faculty members, students and volunteers who have helped us reach this landmark occasion,” commented Susan Muscarella, CJC Founder, President and Dean of Instruction.

Entertainment for the VIP launch event and weeklong series of concerts is focused on performances by its students and teaching artists, reflecting the growth of the California Jazz Conservatory.

For the February 24th concert, students will be showcased in a performance by the Conservatory’s Blue Ensemble (see below), under the direction of CJC faculty member and bassist Jeff Denson. CJC faculty member, bassist Glenn Richman, will lead “Jazz Standards for Gigs” in concert. The evening will close with Cuban son, danzon, bolero and jazz by “Calle Ocho,” featuring CJC Board of Directors member and percussionist Rita Hargrave.

Other events in the week-long celebrations include:

  • Sunday, February 25th, 4:30 pm: Marcos Silva Group, led by CJC faculty member Marcos Silva, Director of CJC’s Brazilian Department ($25);
  • Monday, February 26th (6:30 pm): Participants in CJC’s Young Musicians Program in concert under the direction of CJC faculty member and Young Musicians Program Director Erik Jekabson ($10);
  • Tuesday, February 27th (8:00 pm): CJC’s Blue and Green Advanced Ensembles perform ($25);
  • Wednesday, February 28th (8:00 pm): An Evening with Jazz in the Neighborhood, featuring Wil Blades and Scott Amendola ($25), kicking off a weekly Jazz in the Neighborhood night at Fiddler Annex with two Bay Area favorites starring in this series opening concert.
  • Thursday, March 1st (8:00 pm): a special appearance by the renowned Montclair Women’s Big Band ($25);
  • Friday, March 2nd (8:00 pm): CJC Vocal Chair Laurie Antoniolli, in a rare appearance with Grammy-nominated singer/composer and CJC Artist-In-Residence Theo Bleckmann ($25);
  • Saturday, March 3rd (8:00 pm): Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, Oakland’s own lauded presenter of African American Roots Music and Dance ($25);
  • Sunday, March 4th (4:30 pm): The Electric Squeezebox Orchestra, a 17-piece big band, with added special guest John Santos.

On the academic side, in conjunction with its 20th anniversary in 2017, the Conservatory announced a new, 2-year Associate of Arts degree in Jazz Studies, a unique program consisting of the first two years of CJC’s Bachelor of Music degree program.

Also in 2017, the Conservatory launched the Blue and Green Ensembles, advanced-level opportunities for instrumentalists and vocalists who demonstrate artistic leadership and academic excellence. Ensemble members serve as jazz ambassadors while earning their degree in Jazz Studies from CJC.

In addition, a new area of concentration was added to the Conservatory’s Bachelor of Music degree program in 2017: A concentration in North American Roots Music focusing on examining the stylistic development and cultural origins of North American folkloric music. This new opportunity joins two existing concentrations, allowing Jazz Studies majors to specialize in one of three areas of interest: Brazilian Jazz, Audio Production (presented in conjunction with Berkeley’s famed Fantasy Studios) and the new North American Roots Music focus.

Also announced in 2017 in conjunction with the milestone anniversary: A three-year strategic partnership with another jazz icon, the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival and its Next Generation Jazz Festival, a salute to the future of jazz, held annually in downtown Monterey, California. The California Jazz Conservatory hosted the Next Generation Jazz Festival’s Opening Night Concert in 2017 and committed to hosting the event through 2019. The Conservatory celebrated the partnership with the awarding of scholarships presented to students performing at the Next Generation Jazz Festival.

For more information on the California Jazz Conservatory and to arrange a tour, please contact Paul S. Fingerote, 831.373.3343 or The California Jazz Conservatory is located at 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley, California, 94704. Website is Telephone number is 510.845.5373.

Fiddler Annex Donor Recognition

The completion of our new Jerry Fiddler Annex was made possible by generous donations from the many supporters of the California Jazz Conservatory. Following is a description of some of the highlights to be found in Fiddler Annex.

Jerry Fiddler Annex

Fiddler Annex more than doubles the Conservatory’s capacity, adding new classrooms, practice facilities, a new listening library, a new student lounge, new office space, and a classic, new performance venue, Rendon Hall.

Made possible by a gift from Jerry Fiddler, Board of Directors member and longtime benefactor of the California Jazz Conservatory.

Rendon Hall

Rendon Hall was conceived in the spirit of Minton’s Playhouse, the renowned Harlem nightclub founded by tenor saxophonist Henry Minton in 1938. Like Minton, who generously provided jazz musicians with unconditional support, the California Jazz Conservatory devotes itself to promoting artists and musicians who are, or aspire to be, at the forefront of innovation in jazz.

Made possible by a grant from vocalist Kathi Rendon and her husband trumpeter John Kainlauri, two longtime Conservatory students who provided the seed money for our campus expansion

‘Round Midnight Sculpture

Among the most iconic jazz compositions, ‘Round Midnight, was composed in 1944 by one of bebop’s revered founding fathers, pianist Thelonious “Sphere” Monk (1917 – 1982).

A staple to this day, ‘Round Midnight is one of the most performed and recorded compositions in the history of modern jazz. The sculpture of ‘Round Midnight gracing Rendon Hall was designed and fabricated by artisans at Eclipse Design, with names of supporters impressed on the notes of ‘Round Midnight.

Jennifer A. Maxwell Music Library

A music library for use by students and faculty, with thousands of jazz LPs, CDs and books.

Maxwell Student Lounge

A comfortable place for students to gather together to share ideas and enjoy a break from classes.

The Library, Lounge and ‘Round Midnight Sculpture made possible by a gift from longtime Conservatory student and drummer Jennifer A. Maxwell.

Jazz Studios

A number of donors helped us build and outfit 5 new, state-of-the-art Wenger practice studios.

  • The Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studio: Named in honor of Jamey Aebersold, one of the world’s most influential and highly esteemed jazz artists and educators.
  • The Bud Powell Jazz Studio: Made possible by a donation from Friends of the California Jazz Conservatory.
  • The Duke Ellington Jazz Studio: Made possible by a gift from drummer and longtime California Jazz Conservatory student and Board of Directors emeritus Danny Scher.
  • The Miles Davis Jazz Studio: Made possible by a gift from longtime California Jazz Conservatory benefactors John and Mary Raitt.
  • The Betty Carter Jazz Studio: Made possible by a gift from vocalist Hilary Perkins.
  • The Wayne Shorter Jazz Studio: Made possible by a gift from saxophonist Jerry Povse, longtime California Jazz Conservatory student and member of the California Jazz Conservatory Board of Directors.
  • The Max Roach Jazz Studio: Made possible by a gift from drummer and California Jazz Conservatory Board of Directors emeritus Bert Lubin.