Album image for Woodward's Gardens

Woodward's Gardens

Woodward’s Gardens was a forgotten attraction from San Francisco’s past. Located between Mission & Guerrero and Duboce & 15th streets, it was a combination of zoo, aquarium, museum and amusement park in a beautiful garden setting. Between 1866 and 1891 tens of thousands of people came to the gardens to enjoy the surroundings and learn more about their world. At the end of the century, the introduction of Golden Gate Park and the death of Mr. Woodward led to the end of the gardens. The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed all that remained. From 1945 to 2000, my father owned a motorcycle parts warehouse located on a portion of the old Woodward’s Gardens site. I spent many years working and creating in that place. The Woodward’s Gardens Suite is, in part, a memorial to the original Park, but it’s also a tribute to the time that I spent there and to the experiences and adventures that formed so much of early my life in that part of San Francisco. The music was first performed at the original San Francisco Conservatory of music in 2005.

To my wife Catherine for all of her musical love and support. To the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and to all the wonderful musicians who made this music come to life.

The Musicians

Ross Thompson – Guitar

Ross Thompson was born in England. He holds a degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Royal College of Music in London. He has studied with Scott Kritzer, Carlos Bonell and David Tannenbaum. He won first prize at the National Teachers Association Competition, and has performed concerts in England, Canada, Argentina, and the US. He has recorded two albums of original music, Winters Book, and Dreaming.

Alex Alrich – Piano / Conductor

Alexis Alrich studied piano and composition at the New England Conservatory of Music, at California Institute of the Arts, and received her Masters Degree at Mills College, where she studied with Lou Harrison. She taught composition and theory at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. An active composer, winner of an American Composers Forum grant, and member of the SF Composers Chamber Orchestra, her work has been performed throughout the USA. She is the pianist on Piece for Flute, Cello & Piano, Man with four hands, and conducts on Home.

Matthew Cmiel – Guitar

Matthew Cmiel was a student in the Preparatory Division at the Conservatory. His teachers include Alexis Alrich, Dan Becker, Belinda Reynolds, Ross Thompson, Scott Cmiel and David Tannenbaum. He has won the Menuhin-Dowling Young Artist Award and the ASEA Award for Excellence. His music has been performed by the Berkeley Symphony, San Francisco Saxophone Quartet, Golden Gate Philharmonic and by the students at the Conservatory.

Philip Freihofner – Oboe

Philip Freihofner received a degree in music from UC Berkeley and has studied at the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music. An oboist and composer / sound designer, he performs freelance and with the SF Composers Chamber Orchestra. His compositions include a score for the 1920 silent film “The Golem” and “Fish and the Fire”, a dance theater work.

Rosalind Hague-Foster – Piano

Rosalind Hague-Foster majored in music at University of California Davis with a focus on piano performance. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston with a bachelor's degree in music and composition.

Ariella Hyman – Cello

Ariella Hyman is a freelance cellist and managing attorney of the Oakland office of Bay Area Legal Aid. She performs with bay area ensembles, the San Francisco composers chamber Orchestra, and the New Philharmonic of New Jersey.

Esther Lee – Harp

Esther Lee was born in Walnut Creek, where she studied harp with Jessica Siegel-Tonti. Under the instruction of Lou Anne Neill, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in music performance and education at UCLA, where she was the principal harpist of the UCLA Symphonic Orchestra.

Martha Rodriguez Salazar – Flute

Martha Rodriguez Salazar holds a Bachelors Degree from the National School of Music in Mexico City, and a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from Mills College. She has toured extensively in America, Mexico and Europe, and has performed in master classes with Alain Marion, James Galway, Elena Duran, Emmanuel Pahud and Robert Stallman. She teaches at Mills College, the Community Music Center and the College of San Mateo.

  • Cathedral

  • Emerald Green

  • The Exotic Pond

  • Woodward's Gardens

  • Old Photographs

  • The New Century

  • Piece for Flute, Cello & Piano

  • Man with 4 Hands

  • Dreaming

  • Arden

  • Touchstone

  • A Victorian in Egypt

  • Sands of Time

  • Home