Celebrating Arts Education Successes: Elena Pinderhughes
Arts education is essential — and it was certainly essential to the success of Elena Ayodele Pinderhughes.
Elena, now in her early 20s, spent ten years studying and performing with Young Musicians Choral Orchestra (previously Young Musicians Program) — a Fund grantee that provides free music training to low-income youth. Young Musicians and other rigorous arts education programs (including the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra) helped Elena progress from her Berkeley beginnings to receive the US Presidential Scholar Award in 2013, and three Grammys for Teens the same year. She is now a junior at Manhattan School of Music on a full scholarship.
Elena’s name is on my mind as I recently had the great pleasure of seeing her perform at SF Jazz, with piano giant Kenny Barron on April 24. As director of the Fund’s Arts Program, I was thrilled to see (and hear) her success. No doubt, once she found music, Elena brought to it considerable talent and drive, but she gained opportunities to hone that talent through Bay Area arts education organizations. Her success helps to inspire the next wave of aspiring artists.
If you missed her performances on April 22 and 24 at SF Jazz, you can hear some of Elena Pinderhughes’ talent on the soundtrack of the new film, Miles Ahead, starring Don Cheadle.