March 27, 2017

They're Getting The Band(s) Back Together

A group of former Sonoma State University music students is getting the band(s) back together for the first annual Alumni Recital on April 15 at 2 pm in Schroeder Hall. Proceeds from the concert will go to the Ezra G. Rust Scholarship fund.

Performers  include the three-time Grammy nominated Quartet San Francisco led by violinist Jeremy Cohen ‘77 and the groups Muse and Aircastle, featuring Robert Gilmore ‘79, Jan Ferrin ‘75, David Godet, Steve Puleo ‘77, Barbara Vivian Rogers, Rita Thies, Carroll Glenn '80 and others. The concert will encompass a variety of styles ranging from classical to jazz, tango to cartoon music and progressive rock.

Cohen and Gilmore were among those mentored by the late violinist and music educator Anne Crowden, who taught at Sonoma State before moving to Berkeley and founding The Crowden School in 1983. In Crowden’s memory, Quartet San Francisco will be performing Cohen’s “Crowdambo.” “Anne communicated to me how important it is that the joy of music-making be evident in my playing at every moment,” Cohen says. “In this little musical ‘thank you’ to Anne I found myself cooking up a musical soup of favorite sounds, techniques, and rock and classical-infused ideas held together by a mambo rhythm.”

“In this little musical ‘thank you’ to Anne Crowden I found myself cooking up a musical soup of favorite sounds, techniques, and rock and classical-infused ideas held together by a mambo rhythm.” Jeremy Cohen '77

Cohen, who has taught at the Henry Mancini Institute, the Jazzschool (Berkeley) and Stanford Jazz Workshop, is active as a violinist and composer-arranger with a keen interest in widening the repertoire for modern string players. With Quartet San Francisco, a string quartet that he founded in 2001, Cohen has received multiple Grammy nominations for his arrangements and recordings.


Gilmore, who co-founded Aircastle with David Godet, is a composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist whose works encompass rock, pop, jazz, classical, neo-romantic and post modern minimalism. A published songwriter affiliated with BMI, Gilmore has written over 500 songs.

Aircastle began as an acoustic guitar and flute duo and grew to include violin, cello, and female vocalist, and later transitioned to electronic music with the addition of bass, drums and keyboards. Active from 1973-1982, Aircastle has reunited several times since. Aircastle will play, among other works, Gilmore’s “Waverly Overture” for two flutes, oboe, melodica, harpsichord, guitar, cello and bass.

Tickets are $8, parking included, and free to SSU students with ID.  For more information call the music department office at (707) 664-2324.

SSU Alumni Recital
Quartet San Francisco, Muse & Aircastle
Works by Jeremy Cohen, Robert Gilmore and Jan Ferrin
Saturday, April 15, 2:00 PM
Schroeder Hall





Grammy nominees for their last three CD releases (2009, 2007, and 2006) and International Tango competition winners (New York, 2004), Quartet San Francisco expresses itself in its agility and standout virtuosic playing. Quartet San Francisco was founded in 2001 by celebrated Bay Area violinist and composer-arranger Jeremy Cohen. He is joined by violinist Matthew Szemela, violist Chad Kaltinger, and cellist Andres Vera. As crossover specialists QSF excels in multiple styles — from jazz to tango, pop to funk, blues to bluegrass, gypsy swing to big band and beyond.

Since its concert debut in 2001, Quartet San Francisco has offered its exclusive and ground-breaking literature to local, national and international audiences in a variety of venues that include tango and concert halls, jazz festivals, museums, and classrooms. In 2002 the quartet began its on-stage collaborations with tango dancers. In the 2004-06 academic years the quartet was in residence at Mills College in Oakland, California.

Quartet San Francisco’s tours in 2010 through 2012 included China, Korea, Japan, and Turkey where they performed in Beijing (and nine other major cities in China), Seoul, Tokyo, Hyogo, Sanda, and Istanbul. Recent U.S. appearances include New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, Yoshi’s Jazz Clubs in San Francisco and Oakland, the Brubeck Room in the Wilton, Connecticut Library, in concert with the Marin Symphony and Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead in San Rafael, Calif., with the Tulsa Symphony, as well as with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra. They have appeared at the Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY); Troy Music Hall (Troy, NY); Herbst Theatre (San Francisco); Café Tortoni (Buenos Aires, Argentina); Portland Friends of Chamber Music (Portland, OR); La Jolla Music Society (La Jolla, CA) ; Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society Summer Music Festival; University of Vermont Lane Series; San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival (San Luis Obispo, CA); St. Peter’s Church (New York, NY); Dumbarton Concert Series (Washington, DC); Manhattan School of Music; Berklee College of Music (Boston); The Jazzschool (Berkeley, CA); Ford Amphitheatre (Los Angeles); Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival (Redlands, CA); and the University of the Pacific’s Brubeck Festival at Mills College (Oakland, CA). For more information, visit Quartet San Francisco.



Aircastle was formed in 1973, when co-founders Robert Gilmore and David Godet were assigned as roommates in the Sonoma State dorms. The name was inspired by the Maxfield Parrish painting entitled "Air Castles." They soon started playing around Sonoma County as a flute and acoustic guitar duo, in an English folk/classically influenced style. The late Kate Wolf took Aircastle under her wing when she interviewed them on her radio show "Singer's Circle" on KSRO, and gave them the opportunity to perform their music on the air. Aircastle also played in a number of her concerts. Later, with the addition of violin, cello and female vocalist, the band became known for its complex acoustic material as well as for the excellence of its string players. Aircastle gained popularity throughout the county, calling their music Renaissance Jazz. The late 1970s saw the addition of bass, drums and keyboards, transitioning to a more electric classical rock approach. By 1979, Aircastle had grown to include eight members, and this was the group that went into the studio to record the "Dead Giveaway" sessions. By the early 1980s, the band was writing and playing rock, pop and dance music. In 1980, Aircastle released "Dreamin'/Backstep" as a single. The group was active from 1973-1982 around the greater SF Bay Area. 

In 2007, the founding Aircastle duo reunited and played together onstage for the first time in 25 years, opening for the Poyntlyss Sistars at the Forestville Club on the Russian River. In April of 2008, Aircastle performed at the “Be There Now” festival at Sonoma State University, a 30 year re-union with past members Karen Stokes (vocals) and Jeremy Cohen (violin), founder of Grammy nominated Quartet San Francisco. The Aircastle duo also played the "Be There Now" festival the following day at the Cotati Plaza, the site of Aircastle’s original swan song gig back in 1982. Since then, Aircastle has performed throughout the SF Bay Area at various venues including nightclubs, churches and art galleries. 

Aircastle plans to continue the release of both vintage and new material. For more information, visit Studio Soundworks.



Muse originally formed in 1976 to serve as the orchestra for the rock ballet Foresight, which was composed and directed by Jan Ferrin, with choreography by Bill Ramsdell.  This hour long multimedia extravaganza was performed in Warren Auditorium in a series of benefit concerts for the SSU Center for the Performing Arts. Muse reunited in 2016 to perform sections of Foresight in a 40-year reunion concert at SSU, entitled Concert For Fools.

Jan (Yon) Ferrin is known for his versatile musicality and top-notch sight-reading ability. He  started playing the piano at four, began lessons in classical technique at five, and was earning compensation and scholarships by age twelve. He is frequently called upon as a studio musician and has performed and recorded with members of Captain Beefheart and Dan Hicks' band. Jan continues teaching, composing, and performing in nearly every style and genre. He is a close family member of the choral group Lobosong, directed by Elsie Allen High School's Kyle Thompson, co-teaching, coproducing, and accompanying their shows.



Media Contact

Ruth Wilson
Lecturer in Horn
Music Department Publicity
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928