Arts4All Blog

Get to Know Kevin Coelho

Posted May 28th, 2018  |  By A4A.admin

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CSMA presents Kevin Coelho on Sunday, June 3, 2pm at Tateuchi Hall. Kevin Coelho is a jazz organ prodigy, Stanford University phenom and former CSMA student who is making waves in the Bay Area music scene. Learn more about Kevin Coelho and his work.

Kevin Coelho

How did you get started in the arts?

My grandfather, Francis Coelho was an artist and professor at SF State and my grandmother Ruth Freeman is a professional violist, both on my dad’s side. I got art and music from that side of the family and started on piano and violin very young.

What did you study at CSMA and who were your instructors?

I studied jazz piano and theory, mostly from Randy Masters. I’ve played professionally with Jim Witzel, Jim Kassis, and others.

What was your favorite class you took at CSMA? What was a favorite moment or lesson?

Randy and I would have these long theoretical discussions about jazz, and Randy would always ask me why I thought there weren’t as many “soul jazz” trumpet players as other instruments, since soul jazz was definitely my thing (as an organist in particular). It was really exciting for me to sit in a small room and feel like the world of music was an infinitely large thing for me to explore.

Where did you go for college? What are you up to now?

I went to Stanford for 4 years and I’ll be returning this fall to finish my degree in Computer Science. I’m doing a lot of work in music technology and trying to fix many problems in the music industry. I play professionally in the Bay Area and also book concerts in the Bay Area and LA. I’m actually creating a brand new trio for this concert and plan to book more gigs for us. I’ll be joined by Giulio Xavier and Mike Quigg, amazing bay area musicians.

What drew you to computer science?

From early on I had an engineering mindset and computers came naturally to me since they were in the house. It was a natural fit and I didn’t really think about it too much. I like that I can build useful things quickly, like the playlisting tool I’m working on. I also have ideas for a booking tool for independent musicians and promoters.

How did CSMA help you prepare for your musical career?

The connections I got from CSMA teachers will last me for years to come. I’m really grateful that CSMA was able to open more doors for me in the professional jazz world. I’ve ended up crossing paths with CSMA folks more times than I can count.

What advice do you have for young, aspiring musicians?

Do what you love and don’t get pushed around by people who think they know what is best for you. If you feel like switching instruments, do it. If you feel like the music industry isn’t right for you, then don’t go into it. Or if you feel like the only place you can possibly end up in life is on stage, then set your mind to that and let everything else fall away. Because my path has been in between many different areas, I’ve had to have strong convictions about what I want to do, because many other people would have me choose one path or the other. I think as a young musician, it’s important to decide what you want and be bold about taking it for yourself. It’s okay if you don’t know what you want yet, but once you find out, don’t hesitate to do everything to get it.

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