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
Greetings, I am Dr. Terence Elliott, who some refer to as “Doc,” I have been working as an educator for forty years. Earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University and hold a Masters’ degree in Creative Arts and a Bachelors’ degree in Music and Black Studies that was earned at San Francisco State University. Former Dean of the Natural, Applied and Social Science division, President of the Academic Senate, and Chair of the African American Studies department, at Contra Costa College. In the fall of 2014, I rejoined the teaching ranks as a full-time music faculty member at Diablo Valley College (DVC) currently teaching: the History of Hip Hop Music and Culture, the History of Rock and R&B, and Intro to Social Justice through Hip Hop. I am the founder and co-director of the DVC’s African American Male Leadership Program (AAMLP); and in the summer of 2019, I led several of my students to Ghana, West Africa. I am a published author of the book, Spirit, Rhythm, and Story: Community Building and Healing through Song, 2019 and my new textbook and ebook, Hip Hop Music: History and Culture, 2022. My teaching philosophy and motto in life is to engage and uplift others and myself through the healing of music.
Dr. Elliott is an accomplished pianist, composer and producer. His latest CD, Jazz Nothin’ But Soul, 2013 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.
After 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 I-IV (Music 122, 123, 222, 223) which constitutes 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 is beginning his 15th 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.
Award-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.
Dr. Vasallo has helped make Diablo Valley College “California’s finest community college for music” and a top 10 Music Industry School in California. Dr. Vasallo created the music composition programs at Diablo Valley College and Cal Poly Pomona. He has also taught at UC Santa Cruz, CSU East Bay, and Gavilan College. Director of Music Industry Studies, Commercial Music, 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 & Analysis, Counterpoint, Instrumentation, Music Industry, History of Rock & Roll, and Songwriting in addition to his work as a composer and performing artist. Vasallo currently composes, sings, and plays guitar for his metal projects Antagony and Oblivion. He is a former Artistic Director for Composers, Inc. and his music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishers and released by Innova Recordings and Unique Leader. Vasallo is also a passionate martial artist, he practices Jiu Jitsu and teaches Muay Thai Kickboxing at Danville Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and Kickboxing. He is a CMAT (Certified Martial Arts Teacher), creator, and head instructor of the Muay Thai program at Global Martial Arts University.
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 is the Director of Jazz Studies at Diablo Valley College. He directs the
Jazz Ensemble (MUSIC-136) and Jazz Combos (MUSIC-137) and teaches Jazz Theory and
Improvisation (MUSIC-127), Theory and Musicianship I (MUSIC-122) and History of Jazz
(MUSIC-118) using both in-person and online environments.
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 education, technology and jazz pedagogy.
In addition to his academic pursuits, Matt is a passionate jazz artist, composer and multi-instrumentalist. He plays saxophones, flutes, clarinets and the Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI). He has composed numerous originals and arrangements for both of his current groups, The Oversize Quartet and Organ Trio, 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, Alan Ferber and Erik Jekabson.
Matt’s performing credits 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.
Michael A. Aczon has been teaching students in DVC’s Music Industry Studies Program about the music industry as it has evolved over the past twenty-five years. Michael brings his unique mix of hands-on music industry and educational experience to the courses he teaches, resulting in approaching the study of the music industry with a combination of historical, theoretical, artistic, and practical points of view.
For almost four decades, Michael has practiced entertainment law and personally managed clients at the highest levels of the entertainment industry. As a lawyer, he has advised and represented a variety of clients in virtually every musical genre from unknown emerging local artists to internationally recognized artists with multimillion sales and streams that have reached critical and commercial success. He’s been described in the press as “bright, funny and supremely knowledgeable. He possesses that too rare ability to distill complicated issues of entertainment law and convey them in a clear, storyteller language we all can understand.”
Michael has been a columnist for Electronic Musician Magazine and Guitar Player Magazine as well as the author of the book “The Musicians Legal Companion” which has been widely used as a resource by independent musicians and as a textbook in music industry programs. In the past, Michael has been a faculty member of the SFSU Music and Recording Industry Program and as an adjunct professor teaching Entertainment Law at JFK School of Law and San Francisco Law School. He was an advisory committee member for the inaugural Entertainment Law Initiative Program for the Recording Academy and often lectures at colleges and music industry seminars about music, business, and society.
Mark Alburger is an eclectic American composer of post-minimal, post-popular, and post-comedic sensibilities. He played oboe in Philadelphia and Delaware County Youth Orchestras (the latter in association with George Crumb, Richard Wernick, and George Rochberg), and studied composition with Karl Kohn (Pomona College, 1978); Gerald Levinson and Joan Panetti (Swarthmore College, B.A., 1979); Thomas Wubbenhorst (Weber State University, 1983); Jules Langert (Dominican University of California, M.A., 1991); Roland Jackson, Thomas Flaherty, and Christopher Yavelow (Claremont Graduate University, Ph.D., 1996); and Terry Riley (1997-1999).
Mark Alburger is Founder and Music Director of San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra (SFCCO), Music Director and Resident Composer of San Francisco Cabaret Opera / Goat Hall Productions (SFCCO/GHP), Editor-Publisher of 21st-Century Music Journal, and Music Critic for Commuter Times and San Francisco Classical Voice.
Mark Alburger has taught Music Composition, History, and Theory at Philips Academy Andover (1979-1980), Westtown School (1983-1986), Marin Academy (1986-1990), Dominican (1992-1997), Diablo Valley College (2002-present), and St. Mary's College of California (Visiting Lecturer, 2009-2010).
Among his 187 opus numbers (often tromped after Medieval/Renaissance practices on pre-existing works ranging from ancient Chinese sources to the musics of Igor Stravinsky, Crumb, and Philip Glass) may be counted 16 concerti, 23 operas, 31 song cycles, 9 symphonies, and a ten-hour work-in-progress on The Bible. Other notable works include The Twelve Fingers, Diocletian, Mary Variations (on Mary Had a Little Lamb), The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Playboy of the Western World, The Vespers of 2010 (in homage to the 400th anniversary of the Claudio Monteverdi setting), and Sex and the Bible: The Opera (Part I). His Job: A Masque was recently revived in San Francisco, and he is presently writing his way through The Book of Psalms.
Jon Bendich has worked professionally for the past forty years as a songwriter, producer, and percussionist in the SF Bay Area. In 1985 Jon formed his music publishing company Tortoise Feather Music. From 1987 - 1992 he was signed as a songwriter and co-publisher with Famous Music, now a subsidiary of Sony. To date, Jon's catalog contains over 280 songs with more than eighty songs commercially released. Jon's songs have been recorded by an assortment of Jazz, R&B and Pop acts including Peabo Bryson (BMG), Larry Graham (Capitol), Starpoint (Elektra), Walter Beasley (PolyGram), Will Clayton (PolyGram), Joe Public (Sony), Z' Looke (Orpheus/Capitol), Omar Chandler (MCA), Shades of Lace (Wing/PolyGram), Street Fare (Atlantic), Lenny Williams (Fantasy), and Ray Obiedo (Windham Hill).
From 1985 – to the present Jon has worked as a studio musician, and recorded extensively. As a featured percussionist, Jon’s work can be heard on En Vogue's award winning triple platinum album "Funky Divas," as well as on albums by Jesse Colin Young, Lenny Williams, Pete Escovedo, Ray Obiedo, Luce, Carl Lockett, Lady Bianca, Lloyd Gregory, Sakai and Jenna Mammina. As a percussionist, Jon has performed with Tito Puente, The Last Poets, George Duke & Stanley Clarke, Robben Ford, Gerald Albright, MC Hammer, Lisa Stansfield, Pete Escovedo, Ray Obiedo, John Handy, John Santos, and Frank McComb.
From 1997 to the present Jon has also worked as an adjunct professor at both Diablo Valley College and San Francisco State. Jon received his BA in Social Science from UC Berkeley in 1984, and his MA in Humanities from San Francisco State University in 2001.
Ken Bergmann: Theater credits: Harold Hill in The Music Man, Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Cornelius Hackle in Hello Dolly, and Zack in A Chorus Line. Percussion Credits: (National Tours): Pippin, Disney’s Newsies, White Christmas, (Regional): Matilda, Million Dollar Quartet, Priscilla, Rock of Ages, Billy Elliot, Sweeney Todd, West Side Story and many more. he has performed throughout the world including the Theatre de la Ville in Paris, Royal Albert Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Symphony Hall in Toronto and Minneapolis, as well as New York and Berlin. Ken is best known for his one-man show "Percussion Discussion" www.percussiondiscussion.com. When he's not beating on things, Ken heads to the mountains to fulfill his passion for snow skiing. He is an active member of the National Ski Patrol and works at Sugar Bowl ski resort.
Originally out of Silver Spring, Maryland, Danny moved to Austin, Texas and cut his teeth on the Crawfish circuit playing with singer-pianist Marcia Ball. He then worked with Zydeco king Clifton Chenier and his Red Hot Louisiana Band with whom he recorded the Grammy Award winning Album, "I'm Here" in 1980. Relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1981 he continued to freelance and eventually teamed up with the legendary singer and pianist Charles Brown. Danny served as guitarist and musical director for Charles Brown from 1987 until Brown's death in 1999. Equally adept playing and teaching Jazz and Blues, he has played on numerous CD's and sessions with Charles Brown, Clifton Chenier, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker, Van Morrison, Ruth Brown, Etta Jones, John Clayton, Teddy Edwards,Gerald Wilson, Donald Fagen, Dr. John, Little Milton Campbell, John Hammond Jr. and many others.Danny is the featured guitarist on the Van Morrison produced John Lee Hooker album, "Don't Look Back" which won two Grammy Awards - one for Best Traditional Blues Recording, and the other for Best Collaboration, Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker. Danny has 4 CD’s as a bandleader. They can be heard and purchased online at dannycaron.com, iTunes, Spotify etc.
Gretchen Egen (cello) received her Bachelor of Music Performance from the University of Arizona and her Masters of Music Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with Gordon Epperson and Bonnie Hampton respectively. She has been soloist with the Philharmonia Orchestra of Tucson, the Kensington Symphony, the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, and our very own Diablo Valley Philharmonic Orchestra. She has toured with her cello throughout the United States, Brazil, the Azores, and Europe, and has worked under many conductors including Leonard Bernstein. Gretchen played with the Pacific Piano Trio, specializing in music by American composers, and the Del Sol String Quartet, playing numerous children’s concerts and recording a CD “Short Cuts” with music from the U.S., Cuba, and Argentina. She has been principal cellist with the Santa Cruz County Symphony, the Sacramento Philharmonic, the Sacramento Ballet, and has also played and recorded with the Women’s Philharmonic. Currently she plays with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera. Gretchen, along with violinist Kerry Borgen, cofounded Musical Heart Strings, an ensemble that performs at events all over the Bay Area and beyond. They have a YouTube channel at "musicalheartstrings bayarea.” One of Gretchen & Kerry’s favorite videos is them dancing while playing their instruments and can be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhp1ndunptI.
Saxophonist/flutist Mary Fettig has recorded and toured with such greats as Stan Kenton, Marian McPartland, Tito Puente, Flora Purim and Airto, playing jazz festivals throughout the world, including Concord, Monterey, Playboy, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo,Mary Lou Williams at Kennedy Center, Montreaux, Borneo and North Sea.
She has many studio credits in film, television, video games and radio. In San Francisco she played 25 different Broadway shows in the pit orchestras as a woodwind doubler, including the 5 year run of Phantom of the Opera, and regularly performs with the San Francisco Symphony.
Mary’s own recordings include “In Good Company”, “Relativity”, and her newest release, “Brazilian Footprints”.
She has retired from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music faculty and remains adjunct faculty at St. Mary's and Diablo Valley Colleges.
Mary Fettig as a leader: Brazilian Footprints, F Major Records; In Good Company, Concord Jazz; Relativity, Lau Lau Records
Other recordings: Charlie Wilson, You Are; Ray Brown's Great Big Band; Mark Levine, Off and On (Latin-Grammy nominated); Stan Kenton, 7.5 on the Richter Scale; Marian Mc Partland, At the Festival; Marian McPartland, Windows; Tito Puente, Goza mi Timbal; Tito Puente, Un Poco Loco; Flora Purim, Queen of the Night; Flora Purim and Airto, The Magicians; Marcos Silva and Intersection, Here We Go; Marcos Silva and Intersection, White and Black; Charles Brown, So Goes Love; Nnenna Freelon, Blueprint of a Lady; Ray Brown’s Great Big Band, Impressions of Point Lobos; Dave Eshelman, Deep Voices, When Dreams Come True, Milagro's Journey, Temperature Rising; Dave Eshelman, The Jazz Garden; Ray Obiedo, Perfect Crime; Kit Walker, Fire in the Lake; Wayne Wallace, Dedication; John Williams conducts John Williams, The Star Wars Trilogy; Richard Bob Greene, Low? Bottom? Me?; Sandy Cressman, Homenagem Brasileira; Margie Adam, Another Place, Avalon; Alive, City Life; Dana Bauer, In My Own Voice; Dan Bugeleisen, West Coast Alternative ; Christy Dana, Merry-Go-Round; Ferron, Shadows on a Dime; Sheilah Glover, Power of the Soul; Linda Guerrero, At Last, Mape; Philippe Kahn, Walkin’ on the Moon, Pacific High; Denine Monet, Lady Bird; Stephanie Ozer, O Comeco; Patrick Palomo, Alupang Sunset, Piti Village; San Francisco’s Theater and Cabaret Stars, Christmas by the Bay, Sterling Performances; Rigo Star, Got the Feeling; Mike Vax Big Band, I Remember You; Paul Yonemura, Somewhere Above the Clouds, Coming Back Home.
Movie Sound tracks: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Ratatouille, Inspector Gadget, One Fine Day, Mars Attacks, Soapdish, Walker, Sim City 2000, Sim City 3000, The Sims Online, The Sims House Party, The Sims Deluxe Edition, The Godfather 2 video game, Tony Bennett dvd, Here Comes Garfield, Garfield specials and cartoons, Snoopy specials and cartoon soundtracks
Rick Flores has taught guitar classes at DVC and has been director of the DVC guitar ensemble since 1998. He has published four guitar method books that have been used in colleges and universities throughout the Bay Area. He has also composed extensively for solo guitar and has written and arranged over 300 pieces for guitar ensemble. In 2013 he recorded his first album of solo guitar compositions in a CD entitled ‘And the Seed Cracked Open’. This fusion of world music influences and unconventional guitar techniques was described by acclaimed jazz guitarist Mimi Fox as ‘a beautiful and passionate recording’. Rick has taught music theory at Chabot College since 1989 and throughout his teaching career has taught a wide variety of classes ranging from Intro to Opera, Music History, and World Music.
Ben Flint grew up near Memphis, Tennessee where he became enamored of Jazz, Blues, and Gospel Music. He attended University of Memphis and the prestigious Berklee College of Music on full scholarship. After completing his degree at Berklee College of Music, he returned to the South to resume his music career. He began by conducting musicals and teaching at the University of Memphis. While in Atlanta, he landed the keyboard position with Isaac Hayes. Working with Isaac afforded Ben the opportunity to travel the world and make appearances on such television shows as Good Morning America, the Today show and Late Night w/ David Letterman. As Hayes' keyboardist, he appeared in the documentary movie "Only the Strong Survive”. Currently, Ben lives in the Bay Area. He teaches choir and jazz combo at Diablo Valley College. In addition, he has been the Artistic Director for the Oakland Jazz Choir for the past 8 years. He has released three original music CD’s since 2000. Other artists Ben has played for include Grammy winner Ledisi, Cece Peniston, Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan.
Julie Homi, born in London, England, and raised in the American midwest, is a classically trained pianist/keyboardist who has toured with Robert Palmer, Martin Page, Maria Muldaur, Angela Bofill, Kalani, Tracy Chapman, Shirley Bassey, Peter Cetera, Holly Near, and Yanni for whom she performed during his Dare to Dream, Yanni Live the Symphony Concerts 1993 and 1994 concert tours, and appears on the Yanni Live at the Acropolis video and CD. She played keyboards on the national tour of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby and the San Francisco engagements of The Lion King and Mamma Mia!. She was also music director and keyboardist for Menopause the Musical.
She leads an original jazz quintet called Homiopathy featuring guitarist Barry Finnerty (Miles Davis, Brecker Brothers). She holds a Masters in music composition from Mills College in Oakland, California.
Dr. Jonathan Knight directs the Symphonic Band at Diablo Valley College, serves as Assistant Camp Director at Cazadero Music Camp, is Professor of Trumpet at CSU Stanislaus, and teaches music theory and history at Los Medanos College.
He is principal trumpet of the brass chamber ensemble Brazzissimo! and an active freelance performer in the Bay Area. Dr. Knight Has appeared as trumpet soloist with the Solano Winds and the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, and guest conductor for the Diablo Symphony, and conducts the Benicia Ballet orchestra. He is an active band, orchestra, and brass clinician in Bay Area schools, and has adjudicated band and orchestra festivals and led honor bands throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.
Dr. Knight earned a bachelor’s degree in music from UC Berkeley and holds graduate degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and Stony Brook University.
Ben Levine (aka Mo Levone) is a professional bassist performing and recording on both electric and upright bass. A former faculty member of USC's Thornton School of Music, Ben also holds a Master's Degree in Jazz from that same institution. Ben is the bassist for the alt-bluegrass band "Honeywagon" which had a top 3 charting album "Green Day Blue Grass". Ben was also the long time bassist for the Drew Davis Band a pop/country/rock band that toured all over the United States. In 2008 the Drew Davis Band opened for Hootie and the Blowfish on their summer tour. Ben was also the bassist for former American Idol Josh Gracin and seven time #1 country music hit maker Mark Wills. Ben appeared as a guest artist on the Grammy-Winning album "Guitar Heroes" by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.
As a producer, Ben has composed and produced music for film and TV, several full length albums, and countless demo recordings.
Diane Maltester, MA, is principal Eb and second clarinetist of the Oakland Symphony and principal clarinetist in the Fremont Symphony, the Vallejo Symphony, the Walnut Creek Festival Opera and the Oakland Ballet. She is the clarinet professor for St. Mary’s College, California State University East Bay, Diablo Valley College and professor emeritus from Los Medanos College.
She is also the co-conductor of the Diablo Wind Symphony, an East Bay high school/college honor band. Ms. Maltester performs numerous solo and chamber recitals in the Bay Area and is a member of the unique Clarinet Fusion Ensemble.
She has a renowned private clarinet studio and is a former Northern Woodwind Chairperson for the Music Teachers’ Association of California.
Ms. Maltester’s new CD will be coming out this year, featuring works by Bay Area composer, Nancy Bachmann.
John Maltester received his Bachelors and Masters of Arts degrees from CSU Hayward. He has been a music instructor for over fifty years, with thirty-seven years as Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, CA. He is also the Music Director Emeritus of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, the Artistic Director/Conductor for the Diablo Wind Symphony and Professor Emeritus of instrumental music at Saint Mary’s College.
Mr. Maltester brings a diversified background of abilities to the conductor’s podium. He directs bands, orchestras, and jazz bands. Recognitions include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Parent Teacher Association, Outstanding Educator of the Year Award (1989-90) at Los Medanos College, the President’s award for Lifetime Contribution to Education at Los Medanos College (1999), the Contra Costa County Regional Arts Council award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts (1999), the “Outstanding Music Educator” award from the CMEA Bay Section (2007/8), the Generations in Jazz Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2008), and elected into the Californian Alliance of Jazz Hall of Fame (2010). He received the CMEA Bay Section ‘Lifetime Achievement in Music Education’s award in January, 2013 and the Pittsburg Entertainment & Arts Hall of Fame award in 2018. He is one of only two conductors to conduct both the California State Honor Band and Honor Jazz Band.
He has been active in many professional organizations including the California Music Educators Association Bay Section (President - twice), Treasurer, Area Representative, Conference Host, Festival Host, International Association of Jazz Educators (California President and Western Division Coordinator), and College Band Directors National Association (Community College Representative / Past-President of the Western Division).He is also active as a clinician in rehearsal techniques and low brass performance, adjudicator, and guest conductor throughout Australia, the Western United States, Hawaii, and Alaska.
Doug Michael is a seasoned composer, guitarist, instrument builder, and educator. He’s been a regular featured composer on the syndicated TV show “Planet X,” and scored a Hyundai car commercial narrated by Jeff Bridges. Doug has had television music placements with Pawn Stars (History Channel), Tanked, MTV, Animal Planet, A&E, CBS, This Old House, The Golf Channel and has written music for commercials in Portugal, Turkey, Hungary, Germany, Australia, and Canada. Besides composing for TV, he has written music for Video Games, Film, Theater, the Concert Stage, and the Web, including the 2K Sports video games, All Pro Football and NCAA College Hoops. Doug has won various composition awards and his works have been performed at many music festivals throughout the world, including Hong Kong, Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Europe. He has enjoyed extensive radio airplay and has album releases with HyNGE, CMAU, Blika Blika, & The Outer Darkness, along with multiple solo releases. His latest release is a collection ambient music entitled “Magnetosphere.” Mr. Michael's compositions are recorded on Centaur Records, Frog Peak Music, Seeland Records, Aporia Records, Rosenklang, Chiquito Records, Angular Momentum CDs, among others. His music can be purchased through iTunes and CD Baby and streams from Pandora and Spotify.
To hear his latest music release 'Magnetosphere':
To see and hear some of Doug’s Music placements:
Scott Miller began his audio career cutting analog tape in the radio production room
at KVHS in Concord in 1989. His Sound design and editorial for Film, TV and Video
Games includes work at Studio Trilogy, Skywalker Sound, American Zoetrope, Transmedia
and Polarity Post. Film work has been screened or won awards at Cannes, Sundance,
San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles/AFI International Film Festivals. Television
work has shown on ABC, PBS, A&E, Lifetime, National Geographic and the History Channel.
He has worked on major video game titles from Sony, KOEI and Sierra, including performing
several voices in the video game "Dynasty Warrior 3".
Music projects for film scores and commercial release include recordings at 25th Street Recording, Dolby Labs, Studio Trilogy and others. Recording and mixing of rock, jazz, hip hop and pop artists. Recorded orchestral sessions with members of the London and SF operas, SF and Marin Symphonies.
Scott has taught music and post production audio since 2006 at San Jose State, SAE Expression College, Oakland Recording Academy and Diablo Valley College. He is also an Avid Certified Pro Tools Instructor, Expert level in both Post and Music.
He is a voting Grammy Member of the Recording Academy, and a standards workgroup committee member of the Audio Engineering Society.
Christopher Nicholas received a BM in Songwriting and Vocal Performance from Berklee College of Music. He was granted the Patsy C. & Fred W. Patterson College of Music Scholarship to the University of North Texas, completing an MM in Jazz Studies for voice. Upon completion of his MM, Christopher moved to the Bay Area and co-founded a non-profit performing arts organization, Ensemble Mik Nawooj (EMN) where he currently serves as the executive director. A Hip-Hop orchestra composed of classically trained winds, strings, upright bass, piano, funky drums, an MC, a lyric soprano, and a Turf dancer, EMN samples Western European classical music and Hip-Hop aesthetics to create something truly novel. They tour in the U.S. as well as abroad and were featured on Wall Street Journal, NowThis, Pitchfork, and NPR. Ensemble Mik Nawooj has collaborated with premiere organizations such as the United Nations, ESPN, Amazon, and National Geographic. EMN is represented by Opus 3 Artists.
As a public lecturer, Christopher has produced and spoken at masterclasses regarding Method Sampling; EMN’s core principle of borrowing and sampling from foreign fields and by reframing them rendering a new system. These events were held at Vassar College, West Kowloon Cultural District (Hong Kong), Western Arts Alliance conference (NV), Creative Mornings/Oakland, City of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs, American River College, UCSB: Arts & Lectures, CSU Long Beach, Tempe Center for the Arts, and Chandler Center for the Arts. For more info, visit miknawooj.com
M.M. in Music Education, Boston University; B.M. in Music Education, San Francisco State University; Certificate of Completion in Multimedia Studies, Diablo Valley College. Classroom and private instructor since 1978. Performed professionally in the Bay Area since 1980 ranging from classical to popular singing styles – opera, oratorio and musical theater to jazz, gospel, and pop. Professor at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA, faculty at Bradley School of Music in Lafayette, CA, music director at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Concord, CA, private voice and piano instruction at Pricco Studios.
Ryan Rey is a composer, guitarist, educator, and author. He writes music for film/TV, chamber ensembles, rock/metal groups, and production libraries including Emmy Award-winning production music library CrimeSonics. He played guitar in the death metal band Antagony and the chiptune/folk/doom/chamber music group The Mineral Kingdom. Ryan holds an M.A. and B.A. in music composition from CSU East Bay and formerly taught there. With a focus on music technology, he teaches at Diablo Valley College, Pyramind, and online through Pyramind's Mentorship Network. He is Director of Seventh Avenue Performances concert series and board member of concert presenter Ninth Planet, formerly known as Composers, Inc. where he was Executive Director and an Artistic Co-Director. Ryan is co-author of Logic Pro 101: Music Production Fundamentals and Audio Production Basics with Logic Pro X. Recent activities include 3D modeling and printing, guitar pedal building, and NFT minting.
You can listen to Ryan's music and find other information on his website: www.r2me2.com
David Ridge joined the San Francisco Opera Orchestra as Principal Bass Trombone in 1992. His duties with the Company include playing trombone, bass trombone, and contrabass trombone. Mr. Ridge performs frequently with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Ballet, and every other major arts organization in the Bay Area. Before moving to San Francisco, he held the position of Principal Bass Trombone with the Charleston Symphony in South Carolina. He performed with the Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Savannah Symphonies, and the Virginia Opera Company, and toured nationally with Les Misérables.
A native of Virginia, Mr. Ridge attended the New England Conservatory of Music and received his Bachelors and Masters degrees. He was given a full scholarship to Mannes College of Music in New York and received the Professional Studies Diploma.
Mr. Ridge has won acceptance to many of the major music festivals in this country and abroad including Tanglewood, Colorado Philharmonic/National Repertory Orchestra, Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy, the American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria, Chautauqua Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, and the Evian Music Festival in France.
Gino Robair is a musician, producer/engineer, and writer who has taught at DVC since 2005. He has been editor-In-chief of Electronic Musician magazine and Keyboard magazine; written for Mix, Remix, Guitar Player, Acoustic Guitar, and Drum; and authored two books about music technology. Gino is a member of the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy/Grammys, where he served as a National Trustee for four years. As a musician, he has recorded with Tom Waits, Thurston Moore, Terry Riley, and Lou Harrison; performed with Nina Hagen, John Zorn, Anthony Braxton and Myra Melford; and was music director for the CBS animated series The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. Gino is currently working on a PhD at the University of California, Davis.
Mark Simons is a leading bay area guitarist and a 15 veteran member and co-director of the groundbreaking San Francisco Guitar Quartet with whom he has released four critically acclaimed recordings. His eclectic solo album "Blue in Green", featuring the music of Miles Davis, J.S. Bach and others was released in 2011.
He has toured domestically and internationally and teaches individuals and groups at Santa Clara University, the San Domenico School Music Conservatory, Diablo Valley College, and at his private studio in San Francisco. He is a Fulbright Scholar and has earned degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, Tufts University, the University of Southern California and Peabody Conservatory.
Dr. Tomlin holds a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, Master of Music from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A sought-after collaborative pianist with over 200 works in her repertoire, she has performed throughout the United States with such artists and ensembles as British clarinetist Janet Hilton, former NY Philharmonic principal oboist Joseph Robinson, Martin Kuuskmann, Laura Gilbert, Shigeru Ishikawa, the Mallarme Chamber Players, Blue Mountain Ensemble, Ciompi Quartet, and the Carolina Wind Quintet. Most recently she toured through Saint Petersburg, Russia with flutist Brooks DeWetter Smith, presenting master classes and concerts. She was the coordinator of the piano accompanying programs at Indiana University and the Harid Conservatory of Music, and has been a chamber coach at the UNC Chamber Workshop, American String Workshop, and Depauw University. Her solo appearances have taken her to the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Dudley Profile Series at Harvard University, and concerto performances with orchestras in Illinois, Indiana and North Carolina.
A recent transplant to the Bay Area, Chris grew up in the shadow of New York City, in the small town of Oyster Bay, on the north shore of Long Island. After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music with a Masters degree in vocal performance, he moved to Boston, where he sang for four seasons with the Opera Company of Boston and its touring branch Opera New England. Eventually, he wandered over to the Musical Theatre and has never looked back. As an active "working actor," in a career spanning over twenty-five years, Chris has worked in forty one of the fifty United States and ten European countries. While primarily a musical theatre performer, he is equally at home on the straight theatre, operatic, and concert stages. As a teacher, Chris has taught private voice for over twenty years and was also a member of the music department at the State University of New York College at Oneonta, where he taught voice, music theory and directed the opera studio.
SUSAN WALLER, flute, performed with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra for twenty-five
years (including more than 870 performances of the Nutcracker) and appears throughout
northern California in solo and chamber music recitals. She has enjoyed performing
in the pit of the Curran, Golden Gate, and Orpheum Theaters in San Francisco in productions
of Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Damn Yankees, Carousel, Show Boat, Miss Saigon, Sunset Boulevard, and Titanic. She was principal flutist of the Napa Valley and Modesto Symphonies, and she was
a member of the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz, 1981-2002. She
has also taught at the University of Toledo, Wooster College, Wright State University,
Mills College, Holy Names College, and Diablo Valley College.
Sue holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music in addition to a Master of Music from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts from Case Western Reserve University. During 1994-96, she served as Secretary of the National Flute Association and was a featured performer at the NFA Conventions in Kansas City and Washington, D.C. She has chaired the Special Publications Committee of the NFA, as well as serving on the NFA’s Editorial Board. She also served a three-year term on the Alumni Board of Governors of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
She lives in San Ramon with her husband Roger and two cats, Bernie and Sammy.
Bill Wolter is a composer, guitarist, audio engineer, and sound educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He composes music for film, games, and modern dance. His music is inspired by the sounds of jazz, classical new music, film music, and experimental rock. He composes a diverse range of musical styles and instrumentations focused on the intersection of rock and new music. His main musical project is Inner Ear Brigade (IEB), an ensemble that plays a mix of experimental rock, avant jazz, and classical new music. IEB has released several albums on the Italian Altrock label, and has performed on both coasts and played several festivals nationwide. A restless collaborator who seeks the most diverse and challenging musical experiences, Bill performs nationally and collaborates frequently with a wide range of musicians, bands, improvisers, and choreographers.
Bill has recorded, mixed, and mastered several artists in multiple musical genres focused on experimental rock, jazz, and improvised music. In Game sound, Bill has worked at Activision Blizzard and Disney Interactive media group, creating sounds and musical interaction for games such as Guitar Hero and Tap Tap Revenge. Bill has created sounds and music for several films from shorts to feature lengths. He created music for the 2019 Oscar nominated short listed animation “Weekends”. Bill is also a passionate educator teaching music and audio at Diablo Valley College, and formerly at other colleges such as SAE / Ex’pression College for Digital Arts, and The Art Institute of California, San Francisco. For more info please visit http://billwolter.com/