The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is to be the new home of PENTATONE, a partnership made possible because of a private donation, that will enable students, artists and the public to benefit from the resources of the conservatoire and the label.


While PENTATONE will continue to operate as an independent company, its artists now have access to SFCM’s cutting-edge recording studio in the Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center for Performing Arts in San Francisco’s Civic Center Arts District.

In addition to sharing engineers, orchestral players, educational resources, masterclasses and professional development sessions, SFCM expects to invite the PENTATONE team to campus to participate in a project with students and faculty during the Conservatory’s 2023 Winter Term, ultimately resulting in the release of an album.

As one of its first formal collaborations with SFCM, PENTATONE will record and release a performance by the National Brass Ensemble (for which Stull serves as executive director) during Summer@SFCM’s National Brass Ensemble Academy. The performance will be conducted by San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen at its Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall; it will include the debut of a commission by Jonathan Bingham, a winner of the Emerging Black Composers Project.

PENTATONE joins an existing alliance between SFCM and Opus 3 Artists, the management company that the Conservatory acquired in October 2020.

On the new partnership, Sean Hickey, PENTATONE Managing Director says: 'The team at PENTATONE is excited for the potential that comes with a profound partnership with SFCM and the constituent companies of its larger organization. We are pleased that it affords us the potential for meaningful collaboration in the areas of higher education, recorded music, and music management and the shared resources that we hope to enjoy as a result. The record industry is changing drastically and now is a good time for one of the largest and most–celebrated independent classical labels to forge deeper and more strategic partnerships.'

David Stull, SFCM President says: 'Bringing PENTATONE in–house creates an extraordinary backdrop to explore new ideas for performing, recording and distributing music. For the first time, professional artists have access to a research and development engine in the form of SFCM’s students and PENTATONE’s skill and creativity producing musical experiences of quality and enduring importance. Our collaboration will provide invaluable opportunities to students while giving new life to one of the world’s greatest labels. Together, we will continue to push boundaries that advance the cause of music worldwide.'


Photo: Getty


Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.