Founder | Director
A.L.M.A. is directed by Dr. James Fiatarone, or as many of his students refer to him, "Dr. Jim". James is a Bay Area native who holds a Ph.D. in language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Fiatarone's graduate dissertation and ongoing research concerns the relationships between music and language, and in particular, the presence and influence of music in the Divine Comedy of Dante. He is also a performing musician, and has taught in private schools as well as major universities in the U.S. and abroad.
Dr. Jim teaches Italian, guitar, flute, saxophone, and clarinet. He is the son of James J. Fiatarone, Sr., and Marie-Louise Saint Gaudens Fiatarone, who are the founders of Fiat Music Company and Fiat Records in Pinole, California. Marie-Louise is a renowned concert and jazz pianist as well as a vocal coach, who has taught many successful musicians and singers over the years. Together they are responsible for discovering and teaching Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day, among many others.
A.L.M.A. is a school for anyone interested in studying language, music, or a combination of the two! We offer lessons to students of all levels and all ages, in private and group settings, tutoring, translation services, and preparation for travel and study abroad programs. We also have a full retail store including all instruments, accessories, musical gifts, a great variety of sheet music, and provide rentals, repairs, restoration and custom orders upon request, as well as live entertainment for events such as festivals, weddings, and parties of all kinds.
We at A.L.M.A. believe that language and music are the portals of self-expression through which one passes into the joy of life itself! Not only are they practical channels of communication with others, but also instruments with which we can create, modify and perfect our self-image, both as individuals and as a society.
Alma in Latin means "kind, nurturing, bountiful, and fruitful", as in one's "alma mater". Our goal is to help you develop a sensitivity for music and language, keeping this inspiring image always in mind, while fostering your cultural interests as well.
We look forward to seeing you!