Faculty - Hero - Van Geem
  1. Faculty

Jack Van Geem



  • Applied Lessons


  • MM, California State University, Hayward, 1974
  • BM, California State University, Hayward, 1973


  • Composers Inc, 1990–Present
  • San Francisco Symphony, 1980–2012
  • San Francisco Ballet, 1975–1980
  • SF Contemporary Players, 1975–1981 (Freelance)

What is your hometown?

Oakland, CA

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Furniture building.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

"Embrace failure. It's how you lose fear and gain control."

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

When I had to commit to Pre-Med, I was practicing percussion seven hours a day and realized that I would have to give up music.

What was a turning point in your career?

My year abroad at the Hochschule für Musik in Köln taught me how to learn, how to teach (and how to play snare drum).

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

A doctor of cardiology.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Bach, Monk, and Piazzolla.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

Leipzig, 1740.

What are your most important collaborations?

Nancy Zeltsman, Michael Tilson Thomas, and John Adams.

What are your academic publications?

Four Mallets Democracy, Marimba Master Class, Symphonic Repertoire for Keyboard Percussion

What recordings can we hear you on?

Works in Wood, Laurel Records
San Francisco Symphony’s Mahler Recordings
Pedro and Olga Learn to Dance, Van Geem / Zeltsman