About

wonderfully structured and harmonically imaginative…
— Brian Rosen, Music vs Theater

Nicolas Lell Benavides is a musician based in San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA. He hails from Albuquerque, NM, where he got his love of green chile, hot air balloons, and the desert.

Nick's music has been described as “wonderfully structured and harmonically imaginative…” (Brian Rosen, Music vs Theater), "intriguing... an abstraction depicting something far more concrete..." (Stephen Smoliar, Examiner.com) and “... sadly reflective… not a note was wasted” (Jeff Dunn, San Francisco Classical Voice)

Nick has worked with prominent groups such as Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, The Bay Brass, Musae, Elevate EnsembleThe International Orange Chorale, Friction Quartet, Siroko Duo, SopraDuo, Nomad Session, and One Found Sound. His music has been featured all over North America and Europe at events such as the Hot Air Music Festival, Bennington Chamber Music Festival, highSCORE Festival in Italy, European American Musical Alliance in Paris, and New Music for Treble Voices Festival as well as on radio stations such as Classical KDFC.

As the Artistic Director of the Guerrilla Composers Guild (www.guerrillamusic.org), Nick has been called a “new music impresario of San Francisco” (Cy Musiker, KQED Arts). He is also active with the Hot Air Music Festival as well as the Switchboard Music Festival. Deeply enthusiastic about education, Nick sits on the board of directors for Composers and Schools in Concert and assists as the director of the online score library. 

Nick is the current Composer in Residence for the SF-based wind octet Nomad Session, a fellow at the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy, and a fellow at the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab. He held a residency at Avaloch Farm Music Institute in August of 2017. He was also the resident composer for Elevate Ensemble's 15-16 season, and held a residency in Visby, Sweden, in the fall of 2016. He was the winner of the 2016 Heartland Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition in Minnesota and placed 1st in the SFCM Biennial Choral Composition Competition in 2014. He’s currently working on a chamber opera for the Washington National Opera as part of the American Opera Initiative that will premiere in January at the Kennedy Center, a new string quartet for Friction Quartet based on the Southwest, and music for the for change dance collective (fcdc). 

Commercially, Nick has worked on documentaries and video games as a recording/editing/mixing engineer as well as a composer. He scored and recorded the music for The Trouble with Bread, strongest i'll ever be, Santuario, and wrote the music for Zoo Runner, an iOS game. He has also coached acting talent in conducting for advertising shoots. 

Nick has studied composition with Dan Becker, David Conte, Jack Perla, Pamela Quist, and Kurt Rohde. He attended Santa Clara University (BA) and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (MM). He was previously the managing director of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (Pre-College), on faculty at Academy of Art University, on faculty at UC Berkeley, and was a teaching artist with the San Francisco Opera. He is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Southern California, studying under Donald Crockett.

 

Short

Nicolas Lell Benavides' music has been described as “wonderfully structured and harmonically imaginative…” He has worked with prominent groups such as Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, The Bay Brass, The International Orange Chorale, Friction Quartet, Nomad Session, MUSA, Siroko Duo, and One Found Sound.

As the Artistic Director of the Guerrilla Composers Guild (www.guerrillamusic.org), he has been called a “new music impresario of San Francisco” (Cy Musiker, KQED Arts). Nick is currently the composer in residence with the wind octet Nomad Session, a fellow at the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy, and a fellow at the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab. Nick was the Composer in Residence with Elevate Ensemble and has been a resident at the Visby International Composers Centre in Sweden and Avaloch Farm in New Hampshire.

He’s currently working on a chamber opera for the Washington National Opera as part of the American Opera Initiative that will premiere in January at the Kennedy Center, a new string quartet for Friction Quartet based on the Southwest, and music for the for change dance collective (fcdc). 

Nick has studied composition with Dan Becker, David Conte, and Kurt Rohde. He attended Santa Clara University (BA) and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (MM). He is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Southern California.

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Nick Benavides
NickLBenavides [at] gmail [.] com