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Degrees and Programs

Play with fire.

When you believe in something, you can move mountains."
–Isaac Stern '74 honoris causa

string quartet stands and laughs in a park with the golden gate in the background

Unparalleled access to world-class faculty and facilities, as well as unique opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration, mentorship, and performance make SFCM the home for the world’s best young string players.

Numerous connections to the ߲ݴý Francisco Symphony (three concertmasters are on faculty), Ballet, and Opera allow frequent opportunities to attend performances, dress rehearsals, as well as backstage access.

Performance opportunities are many and wide ranging with SFCM’s orchestra, a celebrated chamber music program, early and new music ensembles, and departmental and solo recitals. A yearly string competition gives players an opportunity to perform with an orchestra. String students also collaborate on projects cross-departmentally, including with peers in the voice and composition programs, working side-by-side to perform and premiere new works. As the Bay Area’s only conservatory, gigging opportunities are plentiful.

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Instruments and Disciplines

a violinist in the section playing during a performance


A great bow arm frees the imagination.

Degrees and Programs
Violin Bachelor of Music Violin Master of Music Violin Professional Studies Certificate
Learn more about Violin
Violist outside playing the viola up against a purple house


Learn transcendent technique.

Degrees and Programs
Viola Bachelor of Music Viola Master of Music Viola Professional Studies Certificate
Learn more about Viola
a cellist plays outside while smiling


Make music speak.

Degrees and Programs
Cello Bachelor of Music Cello Master of Music Cello Professional Studies Certificate
Learn more about Cello
a double bassist plays in front of the windows of osher recital hall

Double Bass

Be the foundation of excellence.

Degrees and Programs
Double Bass Bachelor of Music Double Bass Master of Music Double Bass Professional Studies Certificate
Learn more about Double Bass
a harpist practices in her dorm with city hall in the background


The pursuit of beauty begins with 47 strings.

Degrees and Programs
Harp Bachelor of Music Harp Master of Music Harp Professional Studies Certificate
Learn more about Harp
SFCM Opera performance

Industry Alliances to Support Students and Artists

In recent years, SFCM acquired two leading artist management companies and an iconic record label to reimagine how elements of the music industry can better integrate to advance the human experience through music. For students, that means more opportunities to interact with touring artists and industry experts–including professional development workshops, side-by-side performances, and enhanced masterclasses.

SFCM student walking up stairs inside 50 Oak building in ߲ݴý Francisco

Visiting the Campus

We look forward to your visit! Contact the Office of Admissions to take a tour of our facilities. You can also contact the strings faculty directly to arrange a consultative lesson.

SFCM students playing in ensembles together


Performance opportunities abound at SFCM. Ensembles featuring strings range from small chamber groups to the Conservatory Orchestra. Whether your interest lies in ensemble or solo repertoire, there’s a place for your unique voice.

SFCM Students working in a classroom

Audit a Class

We've saved a seat for you. During your visit to SFCM, get a feel for the curriculum and sit in on a class or two in order to see what it's like to be a student at the Conservatory.

Financial Aid and Affordability

At SFCM, we understand that college is a substantial investment. We're here to help, and we're committed to working with you to achieve the education you desire. 99% of our students receive financial aid at an average rate of 57% tuition discount.

Life on Campus

Learn about safe and secure, all-suite on-campus housing, where 24/7 practice rooms are just the beginning.


We put on more than 500 performances a year, including student recitals, masterclasses, and side-by-sides with exciting guest artists—most of them free to the public. Check out one today.


Get the inside scoop on everything going on at SFCM with stories of SFCM's students, alumni, faculty and leadership.


SFCM leads an alliance across the music industry consisting of artist management companies Opus 3 Artists and Askonas Holt and recording label Pentatone. Together, their work creates opportunities for students, artists, presenters, and audiences to develop and experience new ideas.