Nick Benavides is responsible for directing all aspects of the operations and administration of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, including support for development, grant research and writing, concert and special event management, along with providing oversight for marketing and communications.
As one of the original founders and the artistic director of the Guerrilla Composers Guild (GCG), Mr. Benavides brings experience in promoting new composers and their works by presenting unique performances and listening parties. Through GCG, he has overseen dozens of new music premieres and been called a “new music impresario of San Francisco” (Cy Musiker, KQED Arts). Mr. Benavides is also an accomplished composer, performer, and conductor, and is currently the composer in residence with Elevate Ensemble. Next year, he will hold residencies in Visby, Sweden, and Marfa, Texas.
Benavides has studied composition with 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 is on faculty at the Academy of Art University, and is also a teaching artist with the San Francisco Opera. His music has been described as “wonderfully structured and harmonically imaginative…” (Brian Rosen, Music vs Theater) and “… sadly reflective… not a note was wasted” (Jeff Dunn, San Francisco Classical Voice). His music has been featured all over North America and Europe at festivals as well as on the radio. Commercially, he scored and recorded the music for The Trouble with Bread, and wrote the music for Zoo Runner, an iOS game. As a freelance engineer he has recorded prominent classical artists in the Bay Area and his work with the choir Cappella SF has been featured on Classical KDFC.
Marketing and Box Office Manager
Susan Thieme is the Marketing and Box Office Manager for Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. Her background spans administration, stage management and production, and classical singing. An active performer, Susan has sung with the Knoxville Opera, Lyric Opera Northwest, and locally with West Bay Opera, Lyric Theatre San Jose, and First Street Opera. She studied Lieder in Austria under the tutelage of Wolfgang Lockemann and holds music degrees from Cornish College of the Arts (B.M.) and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (M.M.).