We are a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the Asian American community in the Bay Area and beyond. We provide equitable access to our arts and cultural programs.
Clarion was established in 1982, when Clara Hsu received an offer from the Captain of the Salvation Army Corps in Chinatown to take over a retail space in the basement of an old church
1982 - 2000:
In the early days, Clarion sold pianos and violins. However, it was their collection of Chinese traditional musical instruments that caught the eye and ear of musicians. Clarion became a trading post for musicians to exchange their collection of world instruments for a Chinese instrument. During these years, Clarion became known internationally as the music shop that carried exotic musical instruments of the world.
Clarion was sold to Clara’s long time employees, Jien Ha and Lu Xian, in 2005. Because of Lu’s China connections, Clarion shifted its world focus to specialize in Chinese music, carrying classical as well as minority musical instruments
The powerful internet finally caught up with Clarion. Retail sales steadily declined year after year and profit margin became smaller and smaller. In early 2016, sensing the inevitable, Jien and Lu decided to close the business.
2016 to present:
July 2016 Clara bought back Clarion to build a space of music, theater, art and poetry for the Chinatown community. In 2019 Clarion Music Center became Clarion Performing Arts Center, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a board of directors. It is now an active community space full of art and music events for people of all ages.
Meet the Team
Greg Pond is a poet and community activist.
Ann is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, and advises the board on business management.
Jeff Giordano is a film maker and brings an eclectic selection of films to Clarion. Email Jeff if you have a film to share.
Children Theater's Instructor
Audio and VIsual Assistant