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Best Local Female Musicians In The East Bay

The East Bay is overflowing with immense musical talent, and female musicians make up a large portion of that artistic wealth. With so much talent commanding a plethora of musical instruments, styles and arrangements, the short list of standout musicians and groups is merely a fine-tuned sampling of the female musical gifts the East Bay is fortunate to enjoy.

Related: Best Female Musicians Of The 2000s


Destiny Muhammad

Destiny Muhammad is a jazz harpist, bandleader and a singer-songwriter. She is the principle harpist for the Eddie Gale Inner Peace Orchestra and the Oakland Public Conservatory Orchestra. In addition, she has opened for the Oakland East Bay Symphony, been a featured attraction at Yoshi's Supper Club, Oakland and has shared the stage with jazz master Marcus Shelby, Calvin Keyes and many others. She has headlined the "Women in Jazz" concert series and the AfroSolo String Virtuoso concert series. Destiny is also a mentor at Musically Minded Academy, an educational facility where youth and adults receive training from instructors who are renowned musicians. Visit the Destiny Muhammad website for upcoming performance dates and venues.

tammy hall

Tammy L. Hall

Tammy Lynne Hall has been a natural pianist from an early age, playing piano at age four and by instinct picking out the right notes to recreate tunes she had heard on the radio, or from the church choir. It was evident that music was the path Tammy was meant to follow. Tammy has had a long career in piano, vocals and Hammond B3 organ, and has traveled and performed extensively in Japan, Europe and Mexico. Tammy has worked with an impressive list of talents: singer and actress Connie Champagne, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, jazz violinist Jeremy Cohen, vocalists Pamela Rose, Linda Tillery, Holly Near, Melba Moore and more. Tammy's extraordinary career includes community involvement working as an instructor and mentor for numerous non-profit arts organizations, schools and workshops such as the Stanford Jazz Workshop, Zellerbach Foundation, Alameda Unified School District and Musically Minded Academy, to name just a few.

RelatedBest Concerts To Look Forward To In The Bay Area In 2013

community women's orchestra

Community Women's Orchestra
P.O. Box 30924
Oakland, CA 94604
(510) 463-0313

One of the SF Bay Area's best-kept secrets is really no secret to its many loyal fans. Conductor Nan Washburn founded the Oakland-based Community Women's Orchestra (CWO) in 1985 as an adjunct to the professional Women's Philharmonic. CWO became independent in 1990 and has continued to grow and thrive as an active part of the Bay Area's music scene. The all-women, volunteer orchestra is dedicated to providing a fun, welcoming and non-competitive environment for its members. At each concert, at least one work by a female composer is performed.

According to CWO's current conductor, Dr. Kathleen McGuire, "Each year, CWO produces three concerts, a chamber music soiree and regularly appears at other local events. CWO has also performed at Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall and Brava Theater in San Francisco, Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida and produced a CD featuring works by female composers commissioned by the CWO for its 25th Anniversary Season."

CWO's current conductor, Dr. Kathleen McGuire, came to CWO in 2005. She is moving to Australia in April; her final concert with the orchestra was March 3rd.

photo: Heidi Trefethen

Heidi Trefethen

Heidi Trefethen plays French horn at CWO, is a sound engineer at Freight & Salvage and SF Acoustic Series and soon will be a KPFA engineer. She has performed as a valve trombonist with the Grove Valve Orchestra (winner, 2012 Fortune Battle of the Bands at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH.); played the principal horn at the Rome Festival Orchestra; and performs in the jazz band Giasscritto and Ottomania in the JazzUp Festival in Rome, Italy each summer.

kasey Knudsen

Kasey Knudsen
(510) 381-1078

Kasey Knudsen is a Bay Area saxophonist, composer and educator. With a degree in jazz composition, Kasey has gone on to an extensive and notable career that truly impresses. Her all-embracing career includes commissions by the jazz school's Emerging Artist Series, collaboration with the De Young Museum, and leading her own trio and septet that focuses on original music and arrangements.

In addition, Kasey has performed with many talented, well-known musical artists such as Eric Garland, The Monclair Women's Big Band, the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, Aaron Norvik, and others too numerous to list. She has performed extensively in the Bay Area and the nation, including at Yoshi's, The Palace of Fine Arts, Pearl's, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Jose Jazz Fest and New York venues The Music Hall of Williamsburg and Café Vivaldi. With all her amazing work, Kasey Knudsen is also on faculty at Sonoma State University, The Stanford Jazz Workshop and the Jazzschool in Berkeley, CA.

Related: 2012 Sounded Good: The Best Breakout Music Acts In The South Bay

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at

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