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Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco: Home

Managing Director, Arturo Riera
Co-Director, Sylvia RamirezMusic Director, John Calloway 


Music Director, John Calloway

Managing Director, Arturo Riera

Co-Director, Sylvia Ramirez

The Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco, or LJYE, is a performing group of talented musicians ages ten to 18. They play Latin jazz classics and original compositions at a level that has landed them gigs at the San Jose Jazz Festival, the KCSM Jazz Festival, KGO Radio, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, SF Museum of Modern Art, Paramount's Great America and the world-renown jazz club, Yoshi’s.

Despite their youth, several generations of ensemble musicians have already contributed to the legacy of Latin jazz history by recording three CDs which feature original compositions by the students. In 2005 the group recorded their first CD, "LJYE Live at Yoshi's," followed in 2009 by "Generaciones, and their latest recording, "Con Mis Manos" released in 2015. The CDs present the student musicians playing alongside notable special guests such as Armando Peraza, Jerry Gonzalez, John Santos, Jeff Cressman, and of course, LJYE music director and multi-instrumentalist John Calloway.

The LJYE has shared the stage with legendary performers such as the great Cuban bassist, Cachao; piano virtuoso Chuchito Valdes; Latin jazz heavyweights Poncho Sanchez and Clare Fischer; and the Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Their mission is to preserve the traditions of Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban music by teaching it to youth and to create role models for aspiring student musicians.  The group has won numerous performance awards and is honored to be Youth Artists-in-Residence at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Gardens Festival since 2005.

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Through free, high-caliber musical education and performance, we nurture role models for other student musicians while preserving the legacy of Latin jazz. We guide youth ages 10 to 17 through their journey of discovery, effort, and excellence as Latin jazz artists and ensemble members.


Youth from diverse cultural backgrounds identify with, connect to, and become competent in Latin jazz performance. This connection to Afro-Latin music increases young people’s cultural competence and pride in the Latin jazz tradition while building community through shared culture.

Core activities:

Our services include free Latin jazz music education, youth mentorship, rehearsal, and performance.

We value:

Latin jazz


Youth Development

Excellence and Equity