Past Events


Saturday, May 13, 8:00pm
First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley
2407 Dana St, Berkeley, CA 94704

Ursula Kwong-Brown
Unwinding II
Matthew Paul Finnigan Commissioning Award
Amaranth String Quartet

Aaron Gervais
Shit Around the World
A/B Duo

Alyssa Weinberg
Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award
Amaranth String Quartet

Frank La Rocca, Ryan Rey, Allen Shearer, Nick Vasallo
[variations on Machaut’s “puis qu’en oubli” composed by Composers, Inc.’s Artistic Directors]
Elevate Ensemble:
Mia Nardi-Huffman – Violin
Joanne de Mars – Cello
Jonathan Szin – Clarinet/Bass Clarinet
Chad Goodman – Conductor

Gabriela Lena Frank
Amaranth String Quartet

Lily Chen
!BAMM! Student Composers Competition winner
Hypochondriasis: for Chin Solo and Live Electronics
Performed by Lily Chen


Hit After Hit

with Jack van Geem and Friends

Saturday March 11, 8pm
Green Room at SF War Memorial
401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102

Mark Nowakowski

Robert Greenberg
It Don’t Mean a Thing

Christopher Rouse
Ku-Ka Ilimoku

David MacBride
With Emily Tian, piano

Nick Vasallo
The Aftermath
Sohrob Bazargannia, Mika Nakamura, John Jaworski, Andre Kovalenko, and Noah McKee, percussion
Emily Tian, piano
Mario Alberta Silva, trumpet
Samuel Patchett, bass trombone

Steven Snowden
A Man With a Gun Lives Here

Jack Van Geem, percussion, with the San Francisco Conservatory Percussion Ensemble


All Keys

Sunday, November 20, 4 pm
Piedmont Piano Company
1728 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland

Frank La Rocca
Omri Shimron and Jeffrey Sykes, pianos

Frederick Rzewski
Mayn Yingele
Lino Rivera, piano

Allen Shearer
Stories Wind Told to Grass
Christine Abraham, mezzo soprano
Tod Brody, flute
Jean-Michel Fonteneau, cello
Jeffrey Sykes, piano

Chiayu Hsu
Urban Sketches
Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award
Jean-Michel Fonteneau, cello
Diane Maltester, clarinet
Jeffrey Sykes, piano
Emily Tian, electronics

Ryan Rey
[new work]*
Emily Tian , piano

David Evan Jones
Diane Maltester, clarinet
Jeffrey Sykes, piano

* = World Premiere


!BAMM! 2016
Saturday, May 21, 8 PM
First Congregational Church of Berkeley

Smear Music for string quartet by Taylor Joshua Rankin*
Friction Quartet

Coyote Plan by Max Stoffregen
Ian Scarfe – piano, Kevin Rogers – violin, Doug Machiz – cello

Juke for two marimbas by Howard Hersh*
Jack Van Geem – percussion

Get-Go by Ryan Brown*
Areon Flutes

Three Elements by Brian Baumbusch* (2015 Matthew Paul Finnigan Award)
Friction Quartet

Illusion, in the deep of the abyss by Fang-Wei Luo !BAMM! 2016 Student Composer winner
Taija Warbelow – viola

* = World Premiere

2nd Annual Benefit Concert for the
Matthew Paul Finnigan Commissioning Program
Sunday, April 10th 4pm
Steinway Piano Gallery of Walnut Creek
1605 Bonanza Street, Walnut Creek CA

Featuring music by Composers, Inc. directors
Wine will be served
Free Admission
Donations Gratefully Accepted


MARCHING OFF THE BEAT: Diane Clymer-Greenberg Memorial Concert

Tuesday, March 22, 8 PM
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
Featuring Dana Lawton Dances (

Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award
Wax and Wire for clarinet, violin, cello and piano by Viet Cuong

Suite Revelation for cello and piano by Robert Greenberg

Can’t Wait for clarinet, violin and piano by Martin Rokeach

Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano by Pierre Jalbert

Seven Pieces for Solo Violin by Mazdak Khamda


 Orchestra concert

REMEMBER NOVEMBER: Orchestra Invasion!

  • Saturday, November 7th at 7:30 PM
    Faye Spanos Concert Hall, University of Pacific (Stockton)
  • Tuesday, November 17, 8 PM
    First Congregational Church of Berkeley

Guest performers: University of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Nicolas Waldvogel, director

Unhinged Carnival Fanfare Machine by Jonathan Russell*

Level Inflation by Ryan Rey*

Horizons by Zibuokle Martinaityte

Ein Sof by Nick Vasallo*

Schism by David Biedenbender

Moment d’extase/concaténation by Gleb Kanasevich

* = World Premiere

!BAMM! 2015

!BAMM! 2015

Saturday, May 9, 8 PM, First Congregational Church of Berkeley

!BAMM! stands for Bay Area Modern Music, and the second of this annual series will confirm that we live in a region supercharged with compositional talent.

An exciting night of WORLD PREMIERES! New works by Nick Vasallo and Jen Wang performed by Wild Rumpus. An impromptu performance by Ken Ueno and The Living Earth Show. Debut performances by The Guerrilla Ensemble featuring by Danny Clay and Nick Benavides. Plus a world premiere from new Co-Artistic Director Ryan Rey and the 1st annual student composer !BAMM! winner.


Please join Composers, Inc. for a Benefit Chamber Concert Inaugurating the
Matthew Paul Finnigan Commissioning Program
Sunday, April 12, 3-5pm
Steinway Piano Gallery of Walnut Creek
1605 Bonanza Street, Walnut CreekWine & hors d’ oeuvres will be servedFree admission
donations gratefully acceptedPlease R.S.V.P. by email: by mail: PO Box 1282, Berkeley, CA 94701-1282 by phone: (415) 512-0641The Matthew Paul Finnigan Commissioning Program was designed by Composers, Inc. and Board Member Patricia Finnigan in Memory of Matthew Finnigan. The program is for California-based composers aged 29 and younger, and provides a commission fee of $1,500 and world premiere performance during the Composers, Inc. concert season.Hosted by Justin Levitt, manager of the Steinway Gallery and Composers, Inc. Board Member, the concert portion of the event will include:

  • Renee Witon, piano, performing works by Frank La Rocca, Martin Rokeach, and Zachari Barbieri.
  • Emily Tian, piano, performing works by James Gabbard, Nicholas Vasallo with Rodrigo Cortes, baritone, and Dave Waugh with Grant Leimbach, alto saxophone.
  • Justin Levitt, piano, performing his own original new work.
  • Sarah Cahill, piano, performing works by Henry Cowell and a newly discovered untitled work by Lou Harrison

Admission is free although donations to the Matthew Paul Finnigan Commissioning Program will be gratefully accepted. (seating capacity 75)

Matthew Paul Finnigan

Matthew Finnigan was an exceptional young man, a friend to a great many people with disabilities, both in Monterey and in the Concord/Walnut Creek area. Despite being afflicted with Asberger’s Syndrome, he was a genius in math and physics. He attended Diablo Valley College and, at the time of his passing, was enrolled at Monterey Peninsula College. It was his hope to transfer to San Jose State University to study the autism spectrum and help find a cure. It was his mission to help people, especially those with Asberger’s Syndrome. He wrote short stories, developed multi-dimensional board games, and composed music in his spare time.

Matthew enjoyed writing music in a minimalist style. He listened to and enjoyed many different types of music, and particularly resonated with the works of composer John Adams. He believed classical music composition is an art that should continue to evolve through talented young composers with an ear for new sounds and new expressive language.The Matthew Paul Finnigan Commissioning Program is being implemented to honor his wishes as well as the memory of this gifted young man.—Patricia Finnigan


Middlemarch in Spring

at Z Space, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco


Thursday, March 19, 8 pm

Friday, March 20, 8 pm

Saturday, March 21, 8 pm

Sunday, March 22, 2 pm

George Eliot’s great novel Middlemarch comes to the opera stage in Allen Shearer’s new chamber opera Middlemarch in Spring on a libretto by Claudia Stevens. Directed by Philip Lowery and conducted by Jonathan Khuner, this production will delight the eye as well as the ear. Matthew Antaky is the award winning set designer. Cast will include famed operatic baritones Philip Skinner and Eugene Brancoveanu and young stars Sara Duchovnay, soprano and Daniel Curran, tenor in the leading roles of Dorothea and Will.

The opera unfolds the story of the beautiful, idealistic but naive heroine Dorothea Brooke. Determined to change the world, she will blunder tragically and learn the limits of her power. In this stirring yet often lighthearted opera, Shearer and Stevens evoke an unforgettable spring in the town of Middlemarch, a spring of passionate love and political upheaval. The Composers, Inc. production of their enchanting one-act opera The Dawn Makers (2009) thrilled an overflow crowd at Herbst Theatre, and now that work has been chosen as a finalist in the 2014-16 Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition of the National Opera Association. Middlemarch in Spring also promises to delight, inspire and stimulate the mind.

More info here:

Tuesday, November 11, 8 pm, First Congregational Church of Berkeley

Frank La Rocca’s elegiac trio for violin, clarinet and piano contrasts the winsome humor of John B. Hedges’ bassoon-piano duo and the driving rhythms of Dave Waugh’s saxophone-piano duo. Pianist Emily Tian interprets Leslie La Barre’s lyric sonata, and Chris Arrell offers an electronic transformation of a familiar medium–soprano and piano–in his Ettelson Award-winning work.

Leslie La Barre Piano Sonata (Emily Waugh)

John B. Hedges: The Owl Sings at Noon

La Rocca: In This Place (Cl, Vln, pno)

Dave Waugh Axial Breakthrough (Sax. pno)

Chris Arrell Of Three Minds (Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award)


The Diane Elizabeth Clymer-Greenberg Memorial Concert

Tuesday, October 7, 8 pm, First Congregational Church of Berkeley

Our guest ensemble Trio 180 (violin, cello and piano) performs recent works by Cindy Cox and Robert Greenberg. A very different-sounding trio (bass clarinet, cello and piano) plays a work by Don Freund.  Kelly Leon, violin and Jack Van Geem, percussion return to Composers, Inc. with a duo by Martin Rokeach, and a heady violin-piano duo Finding the Air Up There is a winner of the 2014 Lee and Suzanne Ettelson Composer’s Award.

Cindy Cox Wave

Robert Greenberg 180 Shift

Martin Rokeach Six Questions

Don Freund Crunch Time

Andrew Sigler: Finding the Air Up There (Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award)


​30th Concert Season 2013-2014

Concerts are Tuesdays at 8pm at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley.

November 12, 2013
The Cygnus Ensemble
Composers, Inc. is proud to host this dynamic New York ensemble to open our season.

Allen Shearer Footloose [World Premiere]
Martin Rokeach Sleepless Night
Sebastian Currier Broken Consort
Harold Meltzer Brion
Ryan Olivier American Gumbo
Bill Anderson My Morphine
John Halle Spooks


February 11, 2014

All the Stops!
Contemporary organ music with organ virtuoso Jonathan Dimmock

Jennifer Higdon | Ceremonies, Meditation, Fanfare | Meredith Brown, horn. Prayer Song, Celebration.
David Conte Pastorale and Toccata
David Sampson Tenebrae | with Mark Inouye, trumpet
C. Michael Reese | Study in Pipes, Jack Van Geem, percussion
Frank Ferko | The Hildegard, Organ Cycle, Articulation of the Body, The Effect of Love, The End of Time
Dan Locklair | Rubrics, The peace may be exchanged, The people respond: Amen


March 11, 2014

Winners’ Circle
Winners of the Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Award, and much more.

Justin Dello Joio Due per Due | cello, piano [2013 Ettelson Award]
Martin Kennedy Trivial Pursuits | violin, piano [2013 Ettelson Award]
Asha Srinavassan Dviraag | flute, cello
Elliott Carter Caténaires | Lino Rivera, piano solo
Robert Greenberg Invasive Species | Alexander String Quartet with Roger Woodward, piano [World Premiere]


April 29, 2014
Bay Area Modern Music. All Bay Area composers and musicians unite! Come and hear seven vital works created in our own community!

Dan Becker Better Late | Sqwonk
Gabriela Lena Frank Las Sombras de los Apus | four celli
Brendon Randall-Meyers Making Good Choices | Mobius Trio
Matthew Joseph Payne Flight of the Bleeper Bird | Meerenai Shim & Matthew Joseph Payne, flute and amplified Gameboy
Winton Yuichiro White Erratic Tale |Meerenai Shim, flute solo
Frank La Rocca Ave Maris Stella | Young Women’s Choral Projects of San Francisco
Nick Vasallo Ozymandias | Friction Quartet & The Living Earth Show [World Premiere]

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