Margaret Gonzalez ’12 chose Shenandoah University because of Director of Chamber Music and Professor of Viola and Chamber Music Doris Lederer. “At Shenandoah University, it doesn’t matter who you are, no matter where you come from or your beliefs, they are there to support you 100% and to provide you with the fundamental tools to go beyond your expectations and accomplish all your dreams,” said Gonzalez.
Some of Gonzalez’s fondest memories of her time at the university are her graduation, recitals and winning the Bach competition with her viola group.
Gonzalez is the founder and artistic director of Music Mission San Francisco (MMSF), a non-profit organization that provides free music education to underprivileged children in San Francisco. “My mission with MMSF is to provide underserved children in San Francisco with a transformative music education experience that develops and inspires the behaviors and personal skills needed for a successful life,” said Gonzalez. “Culture for the poor, it should not be poor culture.”
In March of 2021, Gonzalez was the recipient of The Jefferson Award for MMSF’s commitment to serving and empowering the youth in their community. The Jefferson Awards Foundation is a nonprofit organization that “recognizes, inspires and activates volunteerism and public service in communities, workplaces and schools across America.”
Prior to founding MMSF, Gonzalez worked as a music coordinator for several music programs and as a coordinator of musical events for The Venezuelan Minister of Education. In 2016, she was also selected to be a speaker at the American String Teacher Association National Conference in Tampa, Florida.
The most rewarding part of Gonzalez’s career is working with the youth through MMSF and having the opportunity to teach students around the world. “I have cherished every day that I’ve been able to work with these AMAZING kids, and that is all the reward I ever need,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez believes that her education from Shenandoah gave her the self-confidence to conquer the world: “I had amazing mentors and teachers that taught me [how to be prepared for] different situations of life, musically, professionally and personally.”
Gonzalez’s advice to students is: “Shenandoah will give you everything you need to accomplish and be successful at your profession. In my field as a musician and educator, I gained all my knowledge at Shenandoah Conservatory with my mentors at SU.”