Golden Gate Philharmonic offers a robust music education program which includes orchestral experience with sectional training, concert performances, music theory classes, a Fall Retreat at Cazadero Music Camp, and an optional chamber music program.

Orchestra Program

GGP offers orchestral training and experience combining full orchestra rehearsals with smaller sectional (by instrument) rehearsals coached by GGP Faculty. Students learn and prepare music primarily from the classical string orchestra repertoire that culminate in performances of three individual concert programs, typically in November, February and May. 

GGP has traditionally consisted of four levels of orchestral experience:

  • CADET ORCHESTRA – Minimal experience, teacher recommendation. No audition required.
  • JUNIOR ORCHESTRA – Some previous experience; music reading and basic theory desirable.
  • SENIOR ORCHESTRA – Ensemble and sight-reading experience are a must. Major and minor scales up to 4 sharps and 4 flats. Theory to the level of the GGP Theory Book, or its equivalent is required.
  • CAMERATA – GGP’s top performing group; plays the most challenging music. Membership is limited to the finest players and most dedicated musicians.  

In order to ensure the best and most engaging music education experience for each student, GGP is pleased to have the opportunity and flexibility of offering placement in the SINFONIA ORCHESTRA between the Senior and Camerata levels. Following and determined by annual auditions, the Sinfonia option will be offered provided that there are a sufficient number of students at that level to make the Sinfonia a meaningful orchestral and musical experience without sacrifice to the Senior or Camerata Orchestra experience.

Qualified soloists perform with orchestra accompaniment—a rare opportunity for middle school and high school age musicians.

Theory Program

Theory Class and instruction is available for all students.  The GGP program includes theory instruction from beginner through intermediate levels and includes a comprehensive book series with written exercises to be completed.  GGP offers Theory Classes as follows: 

  • CADETS: work with their instructor on Tuesday Afternoons from 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. at SOTA• BEGINNING & INTERMEDIATE THEORY (most students): class take place weekly on Saturday, 2:30 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church, 1350 Waller Street, (between Masonic and Ashbury in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood).
  • SUPPLEMENTAL THEORY: For those students who find it difficult or impossible to attend the Saturday class or who would like to have additional theory instruction and guidance, we provide instruction on Tuesday afternoons from 4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at SOTA before Orchestra rehearsals and sectionals begin. Tuesday theory sessions should be considered a supplement and not a substitute to Saturday classes unless Saturday attendance is impossible. In any case, students will need to do most of their work at home.  
  •  OPTIONAL ADVANCED THEORY: For students interested in additional theory instruction beyond intermediate, Mr. Alden Jenks of our GGP Faculty will teach this class on Saturdays following the intermediate class from 3:30-4:30 subject to demand and enrollment. This class is not covered by GGP tuition and subject to additional fees. Please contact him directly for acceptance and fee amount. (Aldenjenks@gmail.com

Cazadero Music Camp Retreat

All students are strongly encouraged to attend the Fall Orchestra Retreat, held on the Saturday and Sunday of Columbus Day weekend in October at Cazadero Music Camp. This activity kicks off the season, both musically and socially. Parents and siblings are also encouraged to attend. The retreat is free for all enrolled students; an additional fee applies for parents and siblings.

Optional Chamber Music Program

GGP is proud to offer an optional Chamber Music Program to expose our students to the vast and rewarding chamber music repertoire and give them the experience and benefit of playing in a smaller group.

GGP hosts four chamber music recitals each season, and provides other opportunities for the groups to perform.

Instrument rental and financial aid is available.