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September 25, 2014


San Francisco Conservatory of Music voice faculty César Ulloa received the Sarlo Family Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching at a special Convocation ceremony held in the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall on Wednesday, September 24. President David H. Stull and foundation benefactor and Conservatory Trustee George S. Sarlo bestowed the annual award, which recognizes outstanding faculty members at several educational institutions in Northern California. SFCM also granted the Presser Scholarship, an award for musical achievement and academic excellence, to Mark Grisez ’15. The collegiate senior recently won a one-year appointment as acting associate principal trumpet with the San Francisco Symphony.

A faculty member at SFCM since 2006, César Ulloa performed more than 50 roles in an international opera and concert career lasting more than 15 years, appearing on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Washington Opera and Canadian Opera, and with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra, among many others. In addition to teaching at the Conservatory, Ulloa is master teacher of the San Francisco Opera Center’s Adler Fellowship Program and Merola Opera Program. He has also served on the voice faculty of the University of Montreal, Palm Beach Atlantic University and New World School of the Arts and taught at young artist programs including Domingo-Thornton, Palm Beach Opera and International Vocal Arts Institute. He continues to serve as principal vocal instructor and musical consultant for S.I.V.A.M., Mexico’s most prominent young artist program, and on the faculty of the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices.
Guest speaker Sheri Greenawald, director of the San Francisco Opera Center, applauded Ulloa’s ability to help both SFCM students and Adler Fellows navigate a variety of technical and psychological hazards as they begin their careers. “César has proved over and over and over again that he is able to confront every singer in my program with his knowledge and his humor and his experience and eventually win them over. I am so grateful for this tremendous ally in this complicated and detailed and emotionally fraught business of voice teaching.”
Under Ulloa’s tutelage, numerous Conservatory students have progressed through the San Francisco Opera Center’s elite training programs and gone on to win major competitions and launch successful careers. They include tenor Eleazar Rodriguez ’10, current Adler Fellows tenor A.J. Glueckert ’10 and baritone Efraín Solís ’13, and recent Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions winner soprano Julie Adams ’13. Wednesday’s award ceremony was punctuated by student testimonials, vociferous audience ovations and tributes from beyond the Conservatory. “César Ulloa has been, and continues to be, a bright light in that most difficult arena, voice teaching,” wrote legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne. “For a long time I have said that I will put my hand in the fire to prove that classical singing is the most difficult of professions. Nothing else compares. Thanks to César for making it possible for the world to have so many new singers who are succeeding so nicely.” [Correction: Elza van den Heever ’04 was erroneously listed as a student of Ulloa in the previously release. She studied with Sylvia Anderson at SFCM and with Sheri Greenawald at the San Francisco Opera Center.]
In a remarkable achievement for a collegiate senior, Presser Scholar Mark Grisez was recently named to a one-year position as acting associate principal trumpet by the San Francisco Symphony. A student of faculty members David Burkhart and Mark Inouye, the Symphony’s principal trumpet player, Grisez has performed as principal trumpet with the California Symphony, rotating principal and section trumpet with the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado, and as an instrumental fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. He has represented SFCM in performances at The Kennedy Center as part of the Conservatory Brass Quintet, and at AT&T Park and other Bay Area venues as part of the ensemble Noble Trumpets. Faculty member Inouye says, “Mark is the kind of student that really listens, and not just to me, but to everybody. He has learned the art of learning and this will help him excel at everything he does, with and without the trumpet. It’s an honor to have such a young talent in the brass section of the San Francisco Symphony.”

Since 1999, the Presser Foundation has designated the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to grant an annual scholarship to a student entering his or her senior year. One of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy, the Presser Foundation provides undergraduate and graduate student awards, assistance to music teachers and operating and capital support for institutions that advance the cause of music education.



About The San Francisco Conservatory of Music:

Founded in 1917, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is the oldest conservatory in the American West and has earned an international reputation for producing musicians of the highest caliber. Notable alumni include violinists Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern, conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, soprano Elza van den Heever, Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman and Ronald Losby, President, Steinway & Sons-Americas, among others. The Conservatory offers its approximately 400 collegiate students fully accredited bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in composition and instrumental and vocal performance. Its Pre-College Division provides exceptionally high standards of musical excellence and personal attention to more than 580 younger students. The Conservatory’s faculty and students give nearly 500 public performances each year, most of which are offered to the public at no charge. Its community outreach programs serve over 1,600 school children and over 11,000 members of the wider community who are otherwise unable to hear live performances. The Conservatory’s Civic Center facility is an architectural and acoustical masterwork, and the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall was lauded by The New York Times as the “most enticing classical-music setting” in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, visit


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