Introduction to Western Civilizations
Europe In the 1700s
PhD, University of California, Berkeley
BA, Stanford University
AA, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, California
Awards and Distinctions
Sarlo Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 2005
Phi Beta Kappa, University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University
[Paul Bowles was] enacted by Nikolaus Hohmann, who...effectively caught Bowles’ voice...and embellished it with a few appropriate mannerisms based on the film and other biographical sources."
What is your hometown?
What are you passionate about outside of music?
Knowledge and a deeper understanding of all the wonders of culture and of this world.
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
"Every great work of art has two faces: one towards its own time, and one towards the future, towards eternity."
"There is a central part of the human spirit than can only be expressed through art."
—E. M. Forster
"Nothing penetrates more swiftly and deeply into the human soul than music."
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
“How should I approach the question: ‘What is the meaning of life?’”
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue your career path?
When I realized that I am interested in all aspects of the human experience, and that only the study of history allows such broad and diverse explorations.
What was a turning point in your career?
Being invited to serve as poetic narrator for the faculty recital of Hermann LeRoux — the beginning of many collaborations with students and faculty in concert performances.
If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
Novelist. (Although, I cannot imagine doing anything else aside from being a teacher.)
What are your most important collaborations?
Narrator in A Soldier's Tale, Paul Bowles in BluePrint's An Evening with Paul Bowles, Monsieur Jourdain in Ariadne auf Naxos, and many others.
Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?
Mark Grisez, Teddy Abrams, and Elza van den Heever.
What is your unrealized project?
A series of children's books based in specific historical periods.
Born in southern Germany, emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area as a child, grew up on both sides of the Atlantic. Four years service in the U.S. Air Force (not entirely voluntarily). Studied Russian and French, history and philosophy in college. Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in Humanities. Fulbright Grant to Germany. Eyewitness to the Fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. PhD in Modern European History from University of California at Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa. Currently Chair of the Humanities and Sciences Department, and Professor of History and Professor of Philosophy at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.