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Michael Kaulkin

  • Composition
  • Musicianship
Michael Kaulkin headshot


Courses Taught




MM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music

BM, University of the Arts

Post-study, Franz Liszt Academy, Budapest, Hungary

Awards and Distinctions

2020 Ruth Boshkoff Prize for choral composition (Organization of American Kodály Educators)

2015 The American Prize (finalist) – "City Walks" for string quartet

2000 Highsmith Award (SFCM) for orchestral composition – "Misterium Tremendum"


What is your hometown?

Washington, D.C.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Languages, history, and theater

Who were your major teachers?

Conrad Susa, János Vajda, Joseph Castaldo

What recordings can we hear you on?

Clarinet Classics (UK) “TIME PIECES: 60 Years of American Music”


"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.