Nick Benavides, composer

Nick Benavides’ music has been described as “wonderfully structured and harmonically imaginative…” (Music vs Theater) and “… sadly reflective… not a note was wasted” (San Francisco Classical Voice). He has worked with prominent groups such as Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, The Bay Brass, The International Orange Chorale, for change dance collective, and Friction Quartet. His music has been featured all over North America and Europe at festivals as well as on the radio.

Nick was 2016’s winner of the Heartland Symphony Annual Composition Competition, placed first in SFCM’s biennial Choir Composition Competition (’14), and was a finalist for the Morton Gould Young Composer Award (’13 & ’17).

Upcoming commissions include an evening length work incorporating projections with windoctet Nomad Session based on small hidden spaces in San Francisco, a new work forFriction Quartet based on the Southwestern United States, an evening length dance piece for change dance collective incorporating Teatro Catalina in Nicaragua, and a 25th season anniversary serenade for Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.

As the Artistic Director of the Guerrilla Composers Guild (, he hasbeen called a “new music impresario of San Francisco” (Cy Musiker, KQED Arts). As a performer he has sung with Opera San Jose, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. He is currently in composer in residence with Nomad Session and was composer in residence with Elevate Ensemble. He recently held residencies at Avaloch Farm in New Hampshire, and at he Visby International Composers Centre in Visby, Sweden.

Nick has studied composition with Dan Becker, David Conte, Jack Perla, Pamela Quist, and Kurt Rohde and has received degrees in music at Santa Clara University (BA) and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (MM). He also studied with Philip Lasser as part of the EAMA-Nadia Boulanger Institute. He is the managing director of Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Academy of Art University, and is a teaching artist with the San Francisco Opera.