Music Industry Studies Faculty & Staff

Dr. Nicholas Vasallo | Program Director



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, Vasallo decided to begin formal music training at Diablo Valley College as a Music Industry Studies major and transferred to 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, 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 StudiesCommercial MusicAV 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:
Visit his website for more info:

View Dr. Vasallo's current course schedule.

Michael Aczon | music business



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.

Jon Bendich | songwriting



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 and 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 and R in The Popular Music Industry”. In 2001 Jon graduated with an MA in Humanities from San Francisco State University.

Doug Michael | digital audio & media



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:

Ryan Rey | digital audio


ReyRyan 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:

Gino Robair | digital audio & recording technology



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 (SoundWorld, 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.

Bill Wolter | digital audio & media



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.