High School & Beyond

Crowden alums can be found all over the world, with careers in fields ranging from business to medicine, academia to the arts.

Our graduates attend the most prestigious public and private high schools and colleges. Nearly all Crowden students are accepted into their first choice high school. Throughout the eighth grade year, we help students get ready through our High School Prep Course.

Recent high school choices include: Albany High School, Athenian School, Bentley School, Berkeley High School, College Preparatory School, Head Royce School, Lick-Wilmerding, Marin Academy, Maybeck High School, San Domenico School.

Ask an Alum: How did Crowden help shape your life?

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Emma Eyestone, College Sophomore

Class of '18

“I was a very shy kid until I got to Crowden and I was able to find, whether it was in faculty or it was in friends, community that I could connect with, and grow into who I am today.”

Nadav Skloot, Software Engineer

Class of '14

“Crowden expected a lot from me, and still does expect a lot from all the students. And that shepherded me to a high level of confidence and expectations for myself, which then have granted me countless opportunities throughout the years after graduating Crowden.”

Jonah Van Bourg, Investment Banker

Class of '99

“Crowden gave me the opportunity to push myself, take a little more risk, and have the ultimate spiritual fulfillment [playing music] at the end of the day to remind me of the bigger picture and remind me of what really matters. That’s how learning music at an early age influenced my career.”

Jay Campbell, Cellist

Class of '03

“Another thing that was huge for me at Crowden was how many new ideas were shown to me. And new types of music. New types of art. I think from an early age, I was conditioned to approach new ideas, not with suspicion, but with curiosity and with an open mind. And that kind of approach to education—really mentoring a young person, making sure that they're developing in a direct and a positive direction—has been such a huge impact on how I think about education, now that I'm a teacher.”

Theo Haber, Composer

Class of '13

“Crowden is how I learned to think.”

Zander Lee, HS Junior

Class of '20

“Learning and playing the cello at Crowden, and playing music, is definitely a part of my life now. I couldn't live without it. And it's a big part of what makes me, me.”

Alumni Interviews

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Ari Goldberg

UC Berkeley Student Researcher
Crowden School Class of 2018

Quotes from Ari

"Why am I so passionate about Crowden? Crowden was such a catalyst for growth and exploration in my life. After everything the Crowden community has done for me, it’s only right for me to be passionate about ensuring its future!"

"Here's a favorite memory... One time, we were given the opportunity to build anything we could imagine for science class. The only catch was that it had to be solar-powered. I think that’s when I realized just how amazing my classmates were. The next few days were a jumble of wires and wheels, but ultimately each person came up with a unique invention, ranging from an egg beater to a solar car. What’s amazing isn’t just the creativity of my fellow 13-year-olds, but the fact that we had a teacher who after a long day of work, went out to buy us materials to make our solar-powered dreams a reality. The way faculty and student enthusiasm build on each other isn’t unique to this one class either. Whether it’s a music coach giving you a piece you’re excited to work with or getting assigned a book you had told the teacher you wanted to read, Crowden faculty have a way of bringing students' imagination into learning experiences."

"Crowden set me a foundation for academic and social success that I wouldn’t have received otherwise."

"Music is much harder than anything else I’ve had to do. Compared to playing etudes in the 7th position, high school was a breeze! Although I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, the skills I’ve learned playing music have been (and will likely continue to be!) a huge help. Whether I’m researching biochemical pathways, preparing to do a thorough hike, or playing a string quartet with friends, knowing to practice daily, ask for help, and learn with other people has been a huge advantage."

If I was asked to give advice to prospective Crowden School families... First, I’d congratulate the family on considering Crowden. They're on the right path! Then, I’d tell them my honest perspective. Crowden has a way of taking ordinary kids and making extraordinary people that no other school does. Everyone who graduates from Crowden takes a fierce determination and a rare humility into the world. I’ve found no other school where each graduating student can play a three-octave scale, juggle, and recite at least 100 lines of poetry. Amazing people have the potential to do amazing things wherever they go, but at Crowden, you have a guarantee that they will.

Cary Koh

Cary Koh

Crowden Advisory Board
Crowden School Class of '86
A native of Berkeley, Cary Koh was among the first students enrolled in The Crowden School. As a professional violinist, he was a Core Member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, with whom he performed in major concert venues all around the world. Since returning to the Bay Area, Cary has transitioned to a career in finance, where he is now a VP and Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch. When not working, Cary enjoys golfing, downhill skiing, and playing chamber music.

Quotes from Cary

“I always enjoyed my time as a Crowden kid, but never appreciated how special the place is until many years later. To grow up playing some of the greatest works of chamber music and learn through the process of practicing, rehearsing, and performing is truly special.”

“Not only did I acquire valuable life skills to help me in both of my careers, but I also forged lifelong friendships through the bond created when playing chamber music.”

Cary Koh
Cary Koh
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Ansel Klucsor

High School Student
Crowden School Class of 2020

Quotes from Ansel

"Crowden teaches not just music and academics, but also important life skills that have helped me to succeed. Whether it is Eugene teaching us to be responsible, by ensuring that we all bring our music stand and instrument every day, or Ms. Mattson teaching us how to be organized, by teaching us how to write down assignments in our planners, Crowden prepares us for the next step. Even in P.E, Mr. Matteson uses games that force us to interact and collaborate with our classmates. The single most important life skill taught by Crowden is how to give and receive direct feedback and constructive criticism through chamber music workshops, where groups play for each other, and critique and refine each others’ work."

"I have always known that Crowden is special, but only this past summer did I learn just how special. I went to a summer program consisting of the first 6 weeks of classes as an undergrad music major, and I had already had experience in every single class. Every single one of the core classes came more easily to me than to others because of how well Crowden has prepared me." 

Noah Bendix-Balgley

Noah Bendix-Balgley

Co-Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic
Crowden School Class of '97
Violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley tours the globe as Co-Concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker, one of the world’s premiere orchestras. Since his Crowden beginnings, Noah has thrilled and moved audiences around the world with his performances as a concerto soloist, chamber artist, competition winner, and orchestral and klezmer player. He has toured North America with the Miró Quartet, collaborated with Emanuel Ax, and still serves Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, among many other distinctions. Yet as the international stage continues to beckon, he appreciates his roots.

Quotes from Noah

“I was lucky enough to attend the Crowden School from 1995 to 1997, and it had a profound influence on my life, and my decision to become a musician. At the Crowden School, I played chamber and orchestral music for the first time. The joy and excitement of making music with others was infectious, and I haven't stopped since!”

“I'm grateful to Crowden's dedicated and passionate teachers. They inspired a dream in me, and gave me the skills to achieve it.”

Noah Bendix-Balgley
Noah Bendix-Balgley
Our 40th anniversary continues with Alexander String Quartet!» Saturday, February 17
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