The Pacific Musical Society, founded in 1910, is the oldest active musical organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since our inception, we have nurtured the growth and careers of many young classical musicians through our annual competition.
Recently we have expanded our mission, creating the Pacific Musical Society & Foundation, which will provide support throughout our musicians’ careers. Our goal is to help serious students of classical music not only find viable, fulfilling careers, but also emerge from their training with the life skills necessary to be successful all-rounders. In doing this, we are starting to tackle some of the broader, systemic problems that create roadblocks for young musicians pursuing a career in classical music. Your financial support directly contributes to our mission. Click here to donate.
Competition & Scholarships
Our prestigious annual competition identifies the next generation of stellar young artists and provides significant scholarship support to help them in their careers. In the last several years, it has been the most financially supportive competition for young musicians in the Bay Area.
Our annual Winners Concert highlights our scholarship recipients and gives the public early introduction to these rising stars in a highly-anticipated public gala. Pacific Musical also facilitates broader performance opportunities and exposure for our young winners.
We have begun expanding the scope of the competition, enlisting prominent classical musicians around the world as adjudicators. This expansion will enable students in the Bay Area to connect with and receive feedback from some of the most respected and influential musicians in the international classical music community. This format will be uniquely available to students in the Bay Area through the work of the Pacific Musical Society & Foundation.
Long-Term Career Support for Classical Musicians
Pacific Musical’s goal is to provide a circle of support that helps our students navigate barriers in the field of classical music and put them on a path to a fulfilling and self-sustaining career.
Among other efforts, we are creating an online network for our members that will connect them to former competition participants, other serious students, music lovers, and professionals around the world. Through this network, students will be able to learn from the experience of their predecessors, share challenges and solutions with their peers, and gain valuable insights from those who have achieved successful careers. With proper stewardship, we believe the network can encourage a balanced approach to studying music seriously and help our scholarship recipients become well-rounded individuals as well as accomplished performers.
This network will be a cornerstone of Pacific Musical’s work to bring attention to, discuss, and remedy the multi-faceted difficulties that challenge the field of classical music today. Important issues in music education, career opportunity, and the financial viability of musical arts organizations raise troubling questions about its continued vitality as an art form. Books such as The Crisis of Classical Music in America: Lessons from a Life in the Education of Musicians, by Robert Freeman, The Perilous Life of Symphony Orchestras: Artistic Triumphs and Economic Challenges, by Robert Flanagan, Curtains?: The Future of the Arts in America, by Michael Kaiser, Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, by Blair Tindall, Producing Excellence: The Making of Virtuosos, by Izabella Wagner, Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall, by Joseph Horowitz, Who Killed Classical Music?: Maestros, Managers, and Corporate Politics, by Norman Lebrecht, together suggest a bleak picture for classical music’s future, not only in the U.S., but worldwide.
If these challenges are not addressed, the student musicians we support will continue to face an uphill battle in their careers, even with the best of support networks. The challenges facing classical music are well-known among professional musicians, yet are rarely brought to the attention of the public. It is a natural extension of our mission to take on these challenges as well, helping ensure that the students we support with scholarships today will have the best chance at a fulfilling and viable career tomorrow.