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Musicianship, Composition, & Music History Pre-College Faculty

Learn composition and music history from our incredible Pre-College Faculty.

Musicianship and Composition

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.

Bobby Chastain

Musicianship, Composition

Mr. Chastain is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and University of Florida, earning his MM and BM degrees respectively. Bobby maintains an active career in the Bay Area as a conductor, composer, bassoonist, and basso profondo. He sings in Schola Cantorum at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church and also works with the San Francisco Opera as a lead teaching artist, guiding classroom mini-opera composition in the Bay Area public school system. Previously, he has served as Assistant Director of the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus, as well as Assistant Conductor of the San Francisco Conservatory Chorus, Bassoonist of the Oregon-based woodwind quintet Asculta!, and Artistic Director of the Ambrosia Opera Company. Bobby's compositions include works in choral, orchestral, wind ensemble, vocal, and small ensemble settings.

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.

Lukáš Janata


Lukáš Janata (born in Česká Lípa, ’95) is a Czech composer, performer, and educator. His music has been performed throughout Europe, in numerous places in the USA, and in UAE. Lukáš has been commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony; San Francisco Symphony’s SoundBox; New York Cantori for a cantata; Bluven Duo; Punkt Contemporary Choir for The Internationale Koorwedstrijd Vlaanderen, held in Belgium; Aries Percussion Ensemble and Jablonova Youth String Orchestra for the occasion of a world-class Concerto Bohemia held in Prague. 


Lukáš is on the Composition Faculty at The Walden School and San Francisco Conservatory Of Music Pre-College. 


His composition mentors include John Corigliano, David Conte (MM ’19, San Francisco Conservatory Of Music), and Otomar Kvěch (DiS (BA) ’17, Prague Conservatoire). He has participated in masterclasses with composers George Lewis, Allain Gaussin, Liviu Marinescu, Dimitris Maronidis, Michel Merlet, and Ériks Ešenvalds, and has collaborated with composer Nico Muhly, and conductors Ragnar Bohlin and Mark Shapiro. Having grown up singing in an award- winning children's choir Severáček, with whom he performed all over Europe, Lukáš also continues his activities in choral singing. Currently, he sings with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and is a cantor and section leader at St Monica’s Catholic Church in San Francisco. He is a Visiting Artist and Lecturer at the Millennium School and with pianist Tin Yi Wong has lectured at the California State University, East Bay. He has taught piano and music education at the Willow Creek Academy, Mid Peninsula Music Academy, and the California Conservatory of Music. Apart from composing, he is deeply committed to uniting musical communities. He is the founder and music director of Mouthscape, a mixed chamber choir that champions new works by composers within the San Francisco Conservatory community. The spirit of this mission had been preceded by a similar ensemble in Prague, the mixed choir Punkt, of which he was a co-founding member in 2014. 


Lukáš has received several awards, such as the Highmisth Award for CATCH (2022) (symphonic orchestra); Southwest American Prize for BABEL (2018) (symphonic orchestra); Kühn Choir of Prague Composition Award for Nová míza (2022) (SSAATTBB a cappella); International Composition Competition Riga for his Kyrie (2014) (mixed choir, piano, electronics); Czech Music Foundation Award (2017); Praemium Bohemiae (2015); or Prague Conservatoire Award with the premiere of his Sinfonia n.1 (2016).


His “MdadaZ” (2017)(SATB a cappella) commissioned by Punkt, has been awarded both at the IKV in Belgium and at the internationally acclaimed choral festival Praga Cantat. He has received the Brian Shea Fellowship for the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, and the maximal San Francisco Conservatory Of Music scholarship. His Sinfonia n.2 (2019) was published through the UCLA Library. Lukáš is also a versatile performer and has appeared in venues that include San Francisco Symphony’s Davies Hall; Rudolfinum and Žofín in Prague; and Dresdner Philharmonie. He has been active on the jazz scene (Danilukova Trio, piano; L. Bares’ Swing Orchestra, bass; OLD Dixieland, bass/double bass) as well as in contemporary classical ensembles (Grains Of Sound, Aries percussion ensemble, Punkt, Mouthscape).


Michael Kaulkin

Composition and Musicianship

"My musicianship classroom teaching is heavily influenced by my years studying in Hungary and I have adapted many Kodály-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."

Active as a teacher and composer in the San Francisco Bay Area, Michael Kaulkin’s choral, orchestral and chamber music has been performed around the world. In the Bay Area, his works have been performed by the Oakland East Bay Symphony, San Francisco Choral Artists, Mission Chamber Orchestra, LIEDER ALIVE!, West Edge Opera, and others. He holds a M.M. degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied composition with Conrad Susa, having previously studied composition and choral conducting at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. On the Musicianship and Composition faculty of SFCM’s Pre-College Division since 2008, Kaulkin has also served on the faculties of Berkeley’s Crowden School, the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA), and the Academy of Art University. An avid adopter and adapter of the Kodály Method in teaching Musicianship, he has served on the faculties of summer Kodály programs at Holy Names University and Portland State University.

Caitlyn Koester


Bio coming soon

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.

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.

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.

Mauricio Rodriguez

Compostition, Musicianship

D.M.A. and M.A. in Music Composition, Stanford University; M.A. and B.F.A. in Sonology/Composition, Royal Conservatory The Hague, The Netherlands; B.F.A. in Music Composition, University of Mexico. Artist-in-Residence: Arteles Center (Finland), University of California Santa Cruz (WACM-Composition), International Center for Composers (Sweden), Xenakis Center (France), Formations Professionnelles Royaumont (France), and Cuban Institute of Art. Fellow of the National Endowment of Mexican Art.

Rodriguez has taught music theory, music technology and composition at Stanford University, San Jose State University, ESMUC Catalunya, University of Mexico, and Conservatory Salamanca Spain. Currently, he leads the piano lab at San Jose City College and teaches AP Music Theory, Musicianship, and Composition at the Pre-College Program in San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Contact Mauricio -

Harry Whitney


M.M. and B.M. in Music Composition, San Francisco Conservatory of Music; graduate, European American Musical Alliance’s Summer Music Institute, honors in Harmony, Invertible Counterpoint, and Score Reading; studied with David Conte, David Garner and Scott Foglesong; Artist-in-Residence, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts; Organ Scholar, St. Dominic's Catholic Church of San Francisco.

Technology and Applied Composition

Costas Dafnis

Costas Dafnis is a composer and artist based in California. His work has been awarded by New Music USA, the American Prize, International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition, and the Dallas Winds. His Mariana for soprano and processed underwater audio was featured by NOAA/PMEL in an article called “The Music of Challenger Deep” and his 2019 set of Cajun-language art songs is the subject of soprano Nancy Carey’s series of DMA lecture recitals and dissertation. Upcoming premieres include works for the SoCal Brass Consortium, the Greek Chamber Music Project and the Ferndale Public Schools Orchestra, a new piece for wind ensemble, theater and dance companies. His orchestral work was featured at the 2019 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music’s In the Works series and his music for media will be heard in the indie feature Overwhelm The Sky and at Cinequest in CR Coppola’s VR short, Universe At Play. Costas plays mandolin, designs experimental instruments, conducts and curates New Music at New Vision and lectures in film at San Francisco Art Institute.

Jess Konye

Bio coming soon!