Full-Time Faculty

Monte Bairos | theory, music literature

Bruce Cook | piano, world music

Terence Elliot | piano, music literature

Owen Lee | music theory, orchestra

Bret Peppo | choral activities

Nick Vasallo | music industry studies, music composition

Matt Zebley | jazz studies, woodwinds

Monte Bairos | theory, music literature

Email: MBairos@dvc.edu

Monte Bairos is a graduate of Merced College, California State University, Stanislaus, and the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he received his Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Music, and Master of Music Degrees respectively. During his career he has studied with some of the most recognized artist-conductors in the country including Edward Harris, Allan McMurray, Eugene Migliaro Corporon, Gary Hill and Richard Floyd. Mr. Bairos has built strong, sustained programs in several areas of California's Central Valley including the highly recognized Turlock High School Music Program.

Mr. Bairos has been an active musician for nearly thirty years. While serving as principal timpanist, principal percussionist, and section trumpeter with the Merced Symphony, he also appeared as solo percussionist and trumpeter. His freelance career includes performances with jazz ensembles, jazz combos, wind ensembles, bands, orchestras and brass ensembles as a trumpet player, bassist, percussionist, and conductor.

The study and practice of conducting has been Mr. Bairos' focus for nearly thirty years, including over 10 years as Director of Bands and Coordinator of Instrumental Music at Diablo Valley College. He has conducted the Merced Pops Orchestra, California State University, Stanislaus Wind Ensemble, Modesto Junior College Band, Modesto Youth Symphony, and has been featured numerous times as an honor band conductor including four appearances as the Mt. Diablo Unified School District High School Honor Band Conductor. He freely gives his time as an assistant and clinician throughout the Bay Area. He is an active member of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, College Band Director's National Association, and California Music Educators Association. During his long-time commitment to CMEA, and Bay Section, he has served as a board member, festival host, clinician and adjudicator. Mr. Bairos also review textbooks for Cengage (Pearson) Publishing.

Bruce Cook | piano, world music

Email: BCook@dvc.edu


Bruce Cook has been Area Director of Piano and World Music at Diablo Valley College since 1996.

A native of North Carolina, Dr. Cook began playing the piano at an early age, and studied with renowned pianist Edward Kilenyi, a pupil of Erno Dohnanyi and contemporary of Bartok, at Florida State University. Dr. Cook’s devotion to the piano is evident from the numerous degrees received at Greensboro College (B.M. ‘82), the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (M.M. ‘85) and the University of Colorado, Boulder (D.M.A. ’96). Recitals have included the late piano sonatas of Beethoven and Schubert, Chopin’s Barcarolle, and Samuel Barber’s Excursions. A chamber recital featuring piano transcriptions with voice of the Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss, Kindertotenlieder (Mahler) and Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (Barber) garnered the year’s Best of Boulder Chamber Music Award.

An avid explorer of soundscapes, Dr. Cook is a practicing ethnomusicologist (UC Davis M.A. in Ethnomusicology ’09, Ph.D. ABD). His ethnographic fieldwork exploring music cultures has been conducted in Morocco, Egypt and the American Southwest. Winning the honor of Best Teacher in Arizona (‘89), he is also a recipient of four Fellowships and the George and Dorothy Zolk Fellowship at UC Davis. An avid writer, he has published numerous articles in the International Journal of Humanities and Peace, the American Music Research Center Journal, and Kolner Studien Zur Musik in Erziehung und Therapie: Music as a Human Resource.

Dr. Cook’s dissertation in progress explores the healing power of the Native American Church on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. His ongoing fieldwork on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona includes extensive work with the perspectives of ceremonial practitioners, musicians, and community members in its exploration of the significance of these songs in the Native American Church to provide an expanded social and spiritual context in which music is a primary phenomenon, and serve as an educational tool to disseminate to future generations.

In addition to maintaining a busy schedule, Dr. Cook is presently conducting an in-depth study of epic metal bands and music cultures in Bavaria. He promotes this music as part of the ongoing lineage of the great Austro-German Romantic tradition represented by Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, and Wagner.

Dr. Cook teaches the following courses:

Music 150 and 151 Beginning Piano I and II
Music 251 Intermediate Piano II
Music 252 Piano Ensemble
Music 255 Piano Repertoire Master Class
Music 256 Pedagogy for Studio Music Teachers
Music 114 World Music
Music 110 Music Appreciation

Terence Elliot | piano, music literature

Email: TElliott@dvc.edu


Dr. Terence Elliott is an educator with more than 30 years of teaching experience.  He is an accomplished pianist, composer and producer.  He earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University in 2010 and holds a masters’ degree in Creative Arts and a bachelors’ degree in Music and Black Studies that he earned at San Francisco State University. He is a former dean of Natural, Applied and Social Sciences, president of the Academic Senate and chair of the African American Studies Department, at Contra Costa College, from1997-2014. In the fall of 2014, he rejoined the teaching ranks as a faculty member at Diablo Valley College where he teaches:

MUS 100: Piano Instruction
MUS 117: The History of Rock and R&B
MUS 119: History of Hip Hop (beginning Spring 2017)
HUM 105: Intro to Humanities: Art and Ideas
HUM 115: American Multicultural Experience
HUM 118: Film, Fiction and Criticism 

His latest CD, Jazz Nothin’ But Soul is a cross genre musical project that expresses the multi-faceted life and times of Terence Elliott as a musician, composer and educator. He has traveled around the world exploring culture and creative expression. This CD is Terence’s second solo project. It exposes listeners to a music tapestry that binds the traditional elements of jazz with soulful lyrics that paint a story of past and present. The fourteen selections are cross generational, meant to bring young and old together with rhythmical sounds of jazz, blues, funk, R & B, gospel, and hip hop.

The first CD by The Professor: The New Jazz Swing is a welcome blend of straight-ahead and contemporary jazz, with an added mix of R&B and funk. He calls it the “New Jazz Swing.” He wrote, produced and performed on the CD, Cultural Consciousness, by the Contra Costa College’s Black Song and Poetry Ensemble (BSAP), a group he formed and directed.  Terence was the co-producer, composer and featured pianist on the CD, Kissed By A Dove, by his wife and vocalist Amanda Elliott.

Terence has performed and recorded on numerous projects throughout the Bay Area and beyond.  He played and toured Europe with the popular Top 40 band Timex Social Club, known for the #1 hit, “Rumors.” He has also performed and led ensembles that traveled abroad to Ghana, Nigeria, Japan, and Cuba.

It is the hope and purpose of Dr. Terence Elliott to use his music as a way to bring community together. Each CD/song has its own particular “cycle of life” journey of love, pain, hope, change and understanding.

https://www.facebook.com/NymaniMusic/; elliottterence@comcast.net

Owen Lee | music theory, orchestra

Email: OLee@dvc.edu

leeAfter undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley with Andrew Imbrie, Dr. Lee earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Musical Composition at UCLA, where he studied with Paul Reale, Henri Lazarof, and Roy Travis. Dr. Lee came to DVC in 1998.

Dr. Lee is an active composer, with performances by The DVC Philharmonic Orchestra, the DVC Concert and Chamber Choirs, the San Jose Choral Project, Opus 90, the Onyx String Quartet, the Northwind Quintet, the National Association of Computers USA Composers' Performance Ensemble (CPE), the Hillsdale United Methodist Chancel Choir, the Foothill Presbyterian Church Choir, and the UCLA Concert Choir, to name a few. Dr. Lee is past-president of the Music Association of California Community Colleges, and a past chapter president of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the National Association of Composers, USA.

Dr. Lee teaches Theory and Musicianship II-IV (Music 123, 222, 223) which with Theory and Musicianship I (Music 122) constitute the four-term theory and musicianship program at DVC. The program offers some of the most rigorous training available for aspiring musicians at any college. Basic instruction in music notation software is included. Students who complete the full four-term theory program at DVC have been well prepared for transfer, and have been accepted at up to the junior level by a variety of four-year colleges and universities, including UC Berkeley, UCLA, California States San Francisco, East Bay, San Jose, and Chico, the University of the Pacific, BYU, Holy Names, Santa Clara University and others.

Since Spring 2005, Dr. Lee has been conductor of the Diablo Valley College Philharmonic Orchestra.

Bret Peppo | choral activities

Email: BPeppo@dvc.edu


Bret Peppo is beginning his 13th year as Director of Choral Activities and Music Department chair at Diablo Valley College. He conducts the Concert Chorale, Chamber Singers Masterworks Chorale and the Vocal Jazz Ensembles. Prior to his appointment at DVC, Peppo was the Director of Choral Activities at Alderson-Broaddus College at the University of South Alabama and at Illinois State University. He also held the positions as director of the Old Gold Singers, at the University of Iowa. His concert, show and jazz choirs have toured extensively throughout the country and have been selected to perform for the Alabama and Illinois All-State Conferences in 1998, 2002, 2003. As a conductor, Mr. Peppo has conducted many high school and collegiate all-state festivals for both honor choir as well as jazz choirs and is a frequent adjudicator and clinician with many national music festivals and is busy as a judge from show choir and vocal jazz competitions.

Peppo is active in the American Choral Directors Association where he serves as eht R&S chairs for A cappella quality in California. Bret Peppo earned a bachelors degree in Vocal Music Education from Eastern Illinois University, a Masters of Conducting at Illinois State University and is ABD from the University of Iowa in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy.

Nick Vasallo | music industry studies, music composition

Email: NVasallo@dvc.edu

vasalloAward-winning composer, sound artist, teacher, vocalist and guitarist, Dr. Nick Vasallo is "a composer on a mission and one possessed of a distinctive voice" (Michael Quinn, The Classical Review, 2012). His music exhibits "strokes of genius that blend the density of heavy metal with the harmonics of gamelan, the polyrhythms of taiko, and atonality,"(François Couture, Monsieur Délire, 2012) "…creating new sonic alloys never heard before. Vasallo's work is a fresh music that may help usher in a new audience for classical music." (Daniel L. Muñoz, I Care If You Listen, 2014)

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nick Vasallo began performing music in high school where he picked up the electric guitar and eventually formed Antagony, an influential extreme metal band in the underground. While pursuing a career as a film composer, he decided to begin formal music training at Cal State East Bay where he studied composition and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2007. As a Chancellor's Fellow at University of California Santa Cruz, Dr. Vasallo completed his Masters in 2009 and subsequently went on to finish his Doctorate in 2011 as a President's Fellow.

In 2010, Vasallo was the recipient of the President's Dissertation-Year Fellowship Award – the first arts student to ever receive that honor. Other honors and awards include: The American Prize in Composition 2015, Washington Composers Forum 2015 Award, San Francisco Classical Voice Music Educator Award 2013, International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011, MACRO Composition 2011 award, San Francisco Choral Artists New Voices 2009 award, The Seattle Pianist Collective 2008 selection, UCSC Student Orchestral Composition 2008 winner, 60×60 project – Pacific Rim Mix 2008-2009 selection, The David Cope Award for Music Composition Excellence 2008, New Jersey International Film Festival 2005 Selection "Sinful" musical score, and CSUEB Student Composers 2005 Competition winner.

Director of Music Industry Studies, AV Technology, and Music Composition at Diablo Valley College, Vasallo has taught college-level courses in Music Theory, Composition, Digital Audio, Electronic Music, Music Appreciation, Form and Analysis, Counterpoint, Instrumentation, Music Industry, History of Rock & Roll, and Songwriting in addition to his work as a composer and performing artist. He has previously taught at Cal Poly Pomona, CSU East Bay, UC Santa Cruz, Gavilan College, and Los Medanos College. Vasallo currently composes, does lead vocals and plays bass for the modern extreme metal band Oblivion. He is an Artistic Director for Composers, Inc. and his music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishers and released by Innova Recordings and Unique Leader.

Read the recent article about Dr. Vasallo in the DVC Inquirer: http://www.dvcinquirer.com/af/2015/05/05/new-music-industries-director-brings-wealth-of-musical-experience/
Visit his website for more info: http://nickvasallo.com

View Dr. Vasallo's current course schedule.

Matt Zebley | jazz studies, woodwinds

Email: MZebley@dvc.edu

zebleyMatt Zebley is the new Director of Jazz Studies at Diablo Valley College. He directs the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos. He also teaches Jazz Theory and Improvisation and History of Jazz.

Matt received a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. At the University of Southern California, he received a Master of Music degree in 2006, and was conferred a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies in 2010. At USC, Matt studied music technology with Bob Mintzer and developed innovative strategies for integrating the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with current music education pedagogies.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Matt is a passionate jazz artist, composer and multi-instrumentalist. He plays saxophones, flutes, clarinets and the EWI. He has composed numerous originals and arrangements for his own group, The Oversize Quartet, and released his eponymous recording Live at Moondog in 1998. He has performed with many jazz legends including Wayne Shorter, Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, Tony Bennett, Yusef Lateef, Bobby McFerrin and many others. He has also played and recorded in bands led by Anthony Wilson, Billy Childs, John Daversa, Kim Richmond and Alan Ferber.

Matt’s performing credits also includes an extensive list of popular music icons including Bob Dylan, Alicia Keys and Randy Newman. In 2001, Matt won a Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental with the Brian Setzer Orchestra. He continues to record and tour with this high energy, rock and roll big band.