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Jack Van Geem

Jack Van Geem headshot


Office S05


Courses Taught

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