Monte Bairos | 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, commercial music, music composition
Matt Zebley | jazz studies, woodwinds
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 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
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.
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 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.
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 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.
Michael A. Aczon has been a faculty member at DVC since 1996 teaching music business courses for the Music Industry Studies Program. Michael brings a unique mix of 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 over three decades, Michael has practiced entertainment law and personally managed clients at the highest levels of the entertainment industry. As a lawyer, he has represented a variety of clients in virtually every musical genre from local emerging artists to internationally recognized multi-platinum selling artists and successful entertainment companies. Michael has 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’s book, “The Musician’s Legal Companion” is widely used as a resource by independent musicians and as a textbook in music industry programs. His writing about the music business in publications including Electronic Musician and Guitar Player has guided artists through the evolution of the music industry since the early 1990s. He is frequently published and interviewed in various forms of media about the constantly changing music industry.
Along with being on the DVC faculty, Michael has been a faculty member of the SFSU Music and Recording Industry Program since 1992 and lectured 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 Grammy™ Foundation Entertainment Law Initiative Program, serves on the annual planning committee for the California Lawyers for the Arts Music Business Seminar, and frequently 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 is currently a teacher at both Diablo Valley College, San Ramon College and at SF State. Jon has also worked for the past thirty years as a percussionist, producer and songwriter in the SF Bay Area. Jon has performed with Tito Puente, George Duke and Stanley Clarke, Robin Ford, Sheila E., Pete Escovedo, Andy Narrell, The Last Poets, Frank McComb, Lisa Stansfield, MC Hammer, Lenny Williams and Ray Obiedo. Between 1985 - 1989 Jon recorded and performed as a member of The Pete Escovedo Orchestra.
From 1987 - 1992 Jon was signed as a songwriter and co-publisher with Famous Music, then a subsidiary of Paramount Corp. Jon's catalog contains over 280 songs with more than eighty songs in commercial release. Jon's songs have been recorded by an assortment of R&B and Pop acts including Peabo Bryson (BMG), Larry Graham (Capitol), Walter Beasley (Polygram), Will Clayton (Polygram), Joe Public (Sony), Starpoint (Elektra), Z' Looke (Orpheus/Capitol), Omar Chandler (MCA), Shades of Lace (Wing/Polygram), Street Fare (Atlantic), and Lenny Williams (Fantasy).
Jon has also recorded extensively as a studio musician. Jon can be heard as a featured percussionist 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, Lady Bianca, Jules Broussard, Carl Lockett, Bill Bell, Lloyd Gregory, Luce, Sakai, and Jenna Mammina.
In 1997 Jon began teaching “Songwriting” at DVC where he has continued to teach the class up to the present time. Also in 1997 Jon began teaching in SF State University’s Music Recording Industry program, teaching such courses as “Popular Music and Cultural Exchange”, “The History and Aesthetics of Record Production”. “The History of the Popular Music Industry”, “The Independent Label from A-Z” and “A&R in The Popular Music Industry”. In 2001 Jon graduated with an MA in Humanities from San Francisco State University.
Ken Bergmann is a mix of accomplished educator and professional musician. A native Californian, he spent his childhood summers traveling the back roads of rural Mississippi with his grandfather where he learned the importance of family, fishing and fun.
As an actor he has performed the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, Zach in A Chorus Line, Harold Hill in The Music Man and most recently Grady in Zelda's Momma's Cookin'. Best known for his musicianship, 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. His musicianship has been featured on ABC's 20/20, NBC's Entertainment Tonight, and CBS's Evening Magazine. A an award winning musical director, he has conducted 42nd Street, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Into the Woods and has percussed in over 60 musical productions including Sweeney Todd, Godspell, and Cabaret.
When he's not beating on things, Mr. Bergmann heads to the mountains to fulfill his passion for snow skiing. He is an active member of the National Ski Patrol at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort and loves to fall down in the snow. He currently resides in Northern California and when he grows up he hopes he can remember how to be a kid.
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. 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. He keeps up a busy schedule touring and performing most recently with Robben Ford, Barbara Morrison, Maria Muldaur and others. He continues working with Just Say Jazz, a group of Bay Area musicians dedicated to preserving and promoting jazz and blues awareness in primary schools. He is presently teaching courses at The Jazzschool in Berkeley California.
Rick Flores has been performing professionally since 1981. He earned his Masters degree in guitar performance from Cal State Hayward in a 1986 under Jim Bertram and has studied with such world renowned classical guitarists such as Julian Bream from England and Cuban virtuoso Manuel Barrueco, among others.
Rick began composing music based on various world influences by blending his classical training with altered tunings, percussion, and unconventional strumming techniques. His solo performances are an exciting combination of jazz, blues and world music, with classical and unconventional techniques borrowed from other world traditions.
Rick performs regularly with the acclaimed Latin American folk ensemble, “Cascada de Flores.” He also performs with the “Coro Hispano de San Francisco”, a choir that is dedicated to performing classical and folkloric music from South America, Mexico and early California.
Rick has been a dedicated educator in the Bay Area since 1988 and teaches at Cal State Stanislaus, Chabot College, and Diablo Valley College. He has published four method books for guitar and has composed extensively for guitar ensemble and solo guitar.
Evocative, thoughtful, and creative are a few words to describe jazz pianist and composer Ben Flint. Growing up near Memphis, Tennessee, 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. Ben began by conducting musical productions and teaching at the University of Memphis. While in Memphis, he landed a keyboard position with Isaac Hayes. Working with Isaac afforded Ben the opportunity to travel to Australia, Europe, The Middle East, and all over the United States. Ben has appeared with Mr. Hayes on television shows such as Good Morning America, the Today show and Late Night w/ David Letterman. He has also performed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, as well as the Montreal and Brazil's Free Jazz festivals. 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 5 years. His first CD, 'Onyx' was released in 1998 on the One Truth label. Since then, he has been featured on Ellen Robinson's two CD's, "On My Way to You" and 'Mercy' as both pianist and arranger. With longtime collaborator Gerard Harris, he cofounded the group World Soul Project in 2004. Their first CD, self titled, was released in 2004. The second CD, "Spirit Talk", hit the airwaves in 2011.
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.
Erik Jekabson is a freelance trumpet player, composer and educator who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is equally busy playing and composing for different bands, leading his own groups and teaching a wide variety of students. Erik has three CDs out under his own name: his most recent solo album "Anti-Mass", released in 2012 on his own Jekab's Music label, "Crescent Boulevard" (also on Jekab's Music) and "Intersection", which was recorded in New York in 2002 and released on the Fresh Sound/New Talent label. Erik also co-produced and played on two other recordings which are widely available: "Vista: the Arrival" and "New World Funk Ensemble", and has recorded as a sideman on over 25 other jazz recordings, as well as doing session work in many other genres of music and on movie and video game soundtracks. He's spent time on the road with Illinois Jacquet, John Mayer, Galactic, and the Howard Fishman Quartet, and has performed at such notable venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Algonquin Room, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Madison Square Garden, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman.
Erik currently leads his own ensembles in the Bay Area, and has performed at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the DeYoung Museum, the SFJazz Center, Kuumbwa Jazz, the Jazzschool, the Napa Valley Jazz Society's Parlor Series, Jazz at Pearl's, The Sound Room, Pacifica Performances, the Downtown Berkeley Jazz Festival, the Red Poppy Art House and the Piedmont Piano Company. He has also appeared as a sideman at many festivals both in the United States and in Europe. Erik maintains a busy schedule as a freelance musician and often performs with local Bay Area musicians such as Mario Guarneri's tbd, the Michael O'Neill-Kenny Washington Quintet, Larry Vuckovich, Adam Shulman, and Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers. Erik has a Bachelors Degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Master's Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and is currently the director of the Youth Program at the Jazzschool. Erik also teaches at the Jazzschool Institute and Los Medanos College, and has given clinics at Santa Rosa Junior College and Loyola College in New Orleans. He's a regular instructor at Jazz Camp West, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Lafayette Summer Jazz Workshop and at the Brubeck Institute. Erik has also written two books of jazz duets for trumpet.
Nancie Kester teaches piano at Diablo Valley College, and in her independent studio. Ms. Kester received a BA in piano and music composition from California State University, East Bay, and an MM from Holy Names College with piano as her instrumental focus, and Kodaly music education. Nancie Kester also studied piano for many years with Julian White. Ms. Kester is a performing pianist and award-winning composer, who has written and arranged numerous works for chorus, piano and instrumental ensembles. She is an author and partner in Calicanto Associates, publisher of books, CDs, choral arrangements, and musical plays, featuring traditional songs with historical relevance.
Dr. Jonathan Knight grew up in Berkeley, CA, graduated from Berkeley High School, and majored in music at U.C. Berkeley. During this time he began working professionally as a conductor and trumpeter.
Jonathan continued his studies at New England Conservatory, earning a Master of Music degree while serving as assistant conductor of the Boston Lyric Opera Company and Boston Summer Opera Theater; he also founded and conducted the Community Symphony Orchestra of Boston and performed with the Atlantic Brass Quintet. While earning a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Stony Brook University, Mr. Knight became Conductor and Music Director of the Sound Symphony and Bay Area Symphony and Chorale on Long Island.
Dr. Knight joined the faculty of Grinnell College in 1989, as conductor of the college orchestra and wind ensembles, and also performed with the Ottumwa and Cedar Rapids Symphonies and was founder and conductor of the Iowa Chamber Ensemble.
Since returning to California in 1996, Dr. Knight has served as Assistant Camp Director at Cazadero Music Camp, and is on the faculty of Los Medanos College, where he has taught concert band, chamber music, music theory and history. As a trumpeter he performs with several regional symphony orchestras, choral organizations and musical theater companies, and is principal trumpet of the brass chamber ensemble Brazzissimo! Dr. Knight Has recently appeared as trumpet soloist with the Solano Winds and the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, and guest conductor for the Diablo Symphony. He is an active band, orchestra, and brass clinician in Bay Area schools, and has adjudicated band and orchestra festivals and led honor bands all over the Bay Area and Northern California.
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.
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” since 2010, and scored a Hyundai car commercial narrated by Jeff Bridges. Doug has had music placements with Sports Illustrated, This Old House and has written music for commercials in Portugal, Turkey, Hungary, Germany, 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 2K8 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 CD releases with HyNGE and CMAU along with a solo CD’s entitled ‘Outpost’ and most recently ‘Periphery.’ Mr. Michael's compositions are recorded on Centaur Records, Frog Peak Music, Seeland Records, Aporia Records, Nebula Productions, and Angular Momentum CDs. His music can be purchased through iTunes and CD Baby and streams from Pandora and Spotify. Doug is also a Recording Arts Instructor in the Music Technology Center at Diablo Valley College and Ohlone College in Northern California.
To hear his latest music release ‘Periphery’:
To see and hear some of Doug’s Music placements:
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.
Victoria Rapanan, a native New Yorker and Filipino-American, is an International Voice Teacher and Vocal Technician. She has taught voice for 24 years, specializing in the Old Italian School of Singing, with the Swedish influence, as well as cross-training into Contemporary Commercial Music styles. Ms. Rapanan, and trained and apprenticed in New York with the renowned Vocal Pedagogue, David Jones, and continued perfecting her technique with Dr. Mark Goodrich. Besides classical, she has studied popular contemporary styles with Lisa Popeil (voice works training), and Levels I, II and III of Somatic Voicework™, the LoVetri method at the Contemporary Commercial Music Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University. Her private studio is located in Pleasant Hill (30 minutes east of San Francisco). In addition, she is an Adjunct Professor of Voice at Diablo Valley College and teaches for Mt. Diablo Adult Education. Ms. Rapanan is also a regular guest instructor in Bangkok and Manila. Many of her students have pursued professional careers in opera, musical theatre, recording, teaching voice, and choral conducting, besides winning awards in competitions and performing internationally. She has taught singers in all genres of music – classical, contemporary and traditional musical theatre, jazz standards, international folk, gospel, pop, etc.
Ms. Rapanan is the President of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. She also served as Vice President, Recitals for 6 years. A Mezzo-soprano Zwischenfach, Victoria Rapanan has also been an active performer for most of her life. Her extensive range and artistry encompass music of diverse styles – from opera, including coloratura repertoire, to musical theatre and pop standards. She has performed principal roles with many opera and musical theatre companies, and has also been a featured soloist in oratorios and concerts throughout California, Italy, Bangkok and Manila.
For more information, please visit Victoria Rapanan’s website, www.healthyvocaltechnique.com
Ryan Rey is a composer, guitarist, and teacher from the San Francisco Bay Area. He writes music for a variety of mediums including chamber ensembles, rock groups, videogames, and film. His compositions have been performed by REDSHIFT Ensemble, Areon Flutes, The Living Earth Show, University of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Meerenai Shim (flute and electronics), Emily Tian (piano), Guy Livingston (piano), Stephan Poetzsch (violin), and numerous ensembles from CSUEB that include: Jazz Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Trombone Ensemble. Soundtracks include feature film All About Dad (2009) and documentary Wallah’s Corner Store (2013). He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in music composition from CSU East Bay where he was the inaugural recipient of the Glenn Glasow Graduate Fellowship in Composition. Ryan teaches courses in music technology at Pyramind Studios, CSUEB, Diablo Valley College, Fusion Academy, and online through Pryamind's Mentorship Network. Active in various non-profit organizations, Ryan is Executive Director and Artistic Co-Director of Composers, Inc., and Director of Seventh Avenue Performances and the Seventh Avenue Center for the Arts and Spirituality (SACAS) in San Francisco. He played guitar in the death metal band Antagony and the chiptune/folk/doom/chamber music group The Mineral Kingdom. Recent activities include making video tips and tutorials on music theory and production on his personal channel as well as Pyramind's channel on Youtube.
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 has created music for dance, theater, radio, television, silent film, and gamelan orchestra, and his works have been performed throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. He was composer in residence with the California Shakespeare Festival for five seasons and served as music director for the CBS animated series The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. His commercial work includes themes for the MTV and Comedy Central cable networks.
Robair is also one of the "25 innovative percussionists" included in the book Percussion Profiles (Sound World, 2001). He has recorded with Tom Waits, Anthony Braxton, Terry Riley, Lou Harrison, John Butcher, Derek Bailey, Peter Kowald, Otomo Yoshihide, the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, and Eugene Chadbourne, among many others. In addition, Robair has performed with John Zorn, Nina Hagen, Fred Frith, Eddie Prevost, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Myra Melford, Wadada Leo Smith, and the Club Foot Orchestra.
Robair is a founding member of the Splatter Trio and the heavy-metal band, Pink Mountain. In addition, he runs Rastascan Records, a label devoted to creative music.
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.
Conductor and composer Ash Walker recently moved to the Bay Area from Philadelphia and graduated with a MA in Choral Conducting from Cal State East Bay. He also serves as Cantor/Assistant Director for the Archdiocese Cathedral of SF and teaches at Las Positas College.
Michael Williams has been an active blues and jazz guitarist around New England since 1987. He has recently been performing with Grammy winner James Cotton, and has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada with Michelle Willson and others, including Mighty Sam McClain, David "Fathead" Newman, Sugar Ray Norcia, Darrell Nulisch, Tone Cool recording artists The Love Dogs, and blues piano virtuoso David Maxwell. Williams' playing, songwriting, and arranging are featured on Ms. Willson's CD So Emotional, which earned a four-star review in Down Beat magazine.
Michael Williams' CD Late Night Walk (Blue Tempo Records), was released in fall 1999. A stroll across the lines of blues and jazz, the CD features Williams on ten of his original compositions, with guest artists David "Fathead" Newman on tenor sax, Sugar Ray Norcia on vocals, and Bruce Katz on Hammond B3 organ and piano.
Originally from Northern California, Williams has written jingles for radio and television, and performed on extended tours throughout Europe with jazz and theater groups.
Williams is an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he has been employed since 1987. Teaching a mix of blues and jazz styles, Williams has traveled to Europe and South America on several occasions as a clinician and performer for the college.
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, progressive rock, and experimental music. 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 progressive rock, avant jazz, and classical new music. A restless collaborator who seeks the most diverse and challenging musical experiences, Bill performs and collaborates frequently with a wide range of musicians, bands, improvisers, and choreographers. As a sound designer, Bill has worked on musical games such as Guitar Hero, Tap Tap Revenge, as well as several films from shorts to feature lengths. Bill is also a passionate educator teaching music and audio at Diablo Valley College, Ex’pression College for Digital Arts, and The Art Institute of California, San Francisco.