1. Pre-College
  2. Pre-College & Adult Extension Faculty

Musicianship, Composition, & Music History Faculty

Nicolas Lell Benavides, musicianship


Nicolas Lell Benavides’ music has been described as “wonderfully structured and harmonically imaginative...” (Brian Rosen, Music vs Theater), and “... sadly reflective... not a note was wasted” (Jeff Dunn, SFCV). He has worked with groups such as Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, The Bay Brass, The International Orange Chorale, and Friction Quartet.

Nick was the 2016 winner of the Heartland Symphony Annual Composition Competition, and was the Composer in Residence with Elevate Ensemble for the 2015-2016 season. He also recently held a residency at the Visby International Composers Centre in Visby, Sweden and Avaloch Farm in New Hampshire. He will be Nomad Session’s Composer in Residence for 2017-18, and will work with for change dance collective on a new evening length dance piece.

Nick studied with David Conte, Jack Perla, Pamela Quist, and Kurt Rohde and has received degrees at Santa Clara University (BA) and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (MM). He is currently the managing director of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, on faculty at Academy of Art University, and is a teaching artist with the San Francisco Opera. nickbenavides.com

June Bonacich

musicianship, composition

Has had pieces performed by the Community Women's Orchestra, The East Bay Youth Orchestra and other local ensembles.  M.A., Sonoma State University; M.M., San Francisco Conservatory of Music; studied with Elinor Armer; former faculty for San Francisco Boy's Chorus; winner, Kris Getz Composition Award in 1997 and 1998. jbonacich@sfcm.edu

David Conte


D.M.A., Cornell University; commissions from Chanticleer, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Dayton, Oakland and Stockton Symphonies, the American Guild of Organists, Sonoma City Opera, and the Gerbode Foundation; Fulbright Scholar in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, a Ralph Vaughan Williams Fellow, and an Aspen Music Festival Conducting Fellow; B.M. Bowling Green University with Wallace DePue and Ruth Inglefield; M.F.A. and D.M.A. Cornell University; collaborated on film score for Ballets Russes, Sundance Film Festival in 2005; faculty, collegiate division San Francisco Conservatory of Music. dconte@sfcm.edu

Dina Glendening


"My hope is to inspire students to master theoretical patterns so they can utilize their skills in creative ways - through improvisation and composition as well as through cultivating a greater understanding of repertoire they are working on in their private lessons. Each of my musicianship classes includes at least one fun and engaging improvisational activity in which students play with a new concept we have discovered in class."

M.M. piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Michigan; B.M. piano performance from Oberlin Conservatory; B.A., neuroscience from Oberlin College.  Studies with Paul Hersh, Robert McDonald, Monique Duphil and Logan Skelton.  Completed Certification through the Walden School, writing a series of improvisational activities and etudes for piano.  Currently teaches at CSMA in Mountain View, The Trinity School in Menlo Park and at her private piano studio in Los Gatos. dglendening@sfcm.edu

Michael Kaulkin

composition and musicianship

"My musicianship classroom teaching is heavily influenced by my years studying in Hungary and I have adapted many Kodaly-flavored techniques emphasizing strong inner hearing, musical memory, flexibility and independence.  Placing a high value on students' enjoyment of music making, with and without an instrument, my class is fun and relaxed, but also very challenging."

Michael Kaulkin is an accomplished composer of chamber, orchestral and choral music, as well as music for the stage.  In the Bay Area, his works have been performed by the Oakland East Bay Symphony, San Francisco Choral Artists, Mission Chamber Orchestra, LIEDER ALIVE! and others.  His clarinet and piano piece American Standard is popular with clarinetists around the world and is included on the U.K. label Clarinet Classics' 2007 CD Time Pieces: 60 Years of American Music.  He holds a M.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied composition with Conrad Susa after a previous 3-year period studying composition and choral conducting at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary.  He is on the Musicianship faculty of both the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College Division and the Crowden School in Berkeley.  Mr. Kaulkin is also the founder of Swirly Music, a non-profit service offering self-publishing composers an online storefront for their works in print. mkaulkin@sfcm.edu

Aaron Pike


Aaron Pike is an active music educator and composer in the Bay Area. Mr. Pike holds a Masters of Music Composition from SFCM. He is published by Santa Barbara Music. aaron.pike@sfcm.edu

Richard Roper

musicianship and trumpet

"I like a flexible approach to teaching that reflects students' diverse learning styles and goals."

D.M.A. University of Maryland, M.M. Yale School of Music, B.M. San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Winner of Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship for year long residence and study in Paris. Performances at Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, currently performs with many Bay Area ensembles. Faculty at UC Santa Cruz and Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View; formerly at University of Maine, Cal State Stanislaus. rroper@sfcm.edu

Arkadi Serper

composition, musicianship

Compositions performed by Stockton Symphony, YPSO, Bridge Chamber Ensemble/Seattle; piano performances  in Germany, UK, Italy, Poland, Thailand and Greece including recent participation in The International Music Festival of Aegean 2011. B.A., Gnesin State Musical College; M.A., Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory; compositions for Kairos Youth Choir and musical theatre; faculty, The Crowden School. aserper@sfcm.edu

Richie Unterberger

San Francisco resident Richie Unterberger is the author of numerous rock history books, including Unknown Legends of Rock'n'Roll and a history of 1960s folk-rock, Jingle Jangle Morning. His book The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film won a 2007 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research. He's also written books on the Who, the Velvet Underground, and Bob Marley. He gives regular presentations on rock and soul history throughout the Bay Area incorporating rare vintage film clips and audio recordings, at public libraries and other venues. He teaches courses on rock history at the University of San Francisco-affiliated Fromm Institute, the College of Marin, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dominican University in San Rafael.
He has contributed to numerous publications, including MOJO, Record Collector, The Oxford American, and the KQED Arts website. He has also written several hundred liner notes for CD reissues on various labels, including Rhino, Universal, Collectors' Choice, and Real Gone Music. There's more information about his work on his website, richieunterberger.com, and articles about music and other topics on his blog, richieunterberger.com/wordpress.

Daniel Wood

Chair of composition and musicianship, French Horn

"Every student has a degree of potential on any instrument. It is up to me -- as their teacher -- to help them discover that potential and take them as far as they want to go along the path of music education.  I believe in teaching students to be complete musicians and teaching them to be complete technicians on their chosen instrument. I stress musicality and stage presence in my methods and expect commitment in return when warranted.  Ultimately, it is my responsibility to teach my students how to be their own best teacher."

Chair of Musicianship and Composition for the Pre-College Division at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Daniel Wood is an accomplished composer, performer and educator. His compositions favor small groups such as brass, wind and string chamber music, steel drum ensembles and jazz combos and his most recent commissions have come from Ceora Winds, Presidio String Trio, and Avenue Winds. Mr. Wood has written and performed solo shows as an improvisational musician including "Life on an Island" and "Brother, Can you spare a Dime." As a founding member of the Quadre horn quartet, he has toured extensively since 1998, and composed and performed for Quadre's 4 albums with guest horn player James Thatcher, Grammy award-winning flutist, Molly Barth, and soprano Elizabeth Weigle.  Mr. Wood has lectured on the Business of Music for the American Federation of Musicians, San Francisco Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, University of Oregon, and the International Horn conferences. He is also a member of the Avenue Winds and the Teal Crane Trio, both focused on championing new work and runs Solid Wood Publishing. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mr. Wood received his training from the University of California, Los Angeles. dwood@sfcm.edu