Guerilla Composers Guild

Modern classical music is not only alive, it is thriving in the Bay Area. Evidence of that bold statement can be corroborated in the first of our two discussions with the San Francisco-based Guerrilla Composers Guild (GCG).

Founded by Nick Benavides and Danny Clay, the non-profit GCG brings performers and composers together in what we see as a very unique supportive environment that is mutually (and musically) beneficial to both types of artists.

For performers who are seeking new material, they can work directly with the composers. For composers, it is a chance to iterate on drafts of their oeuvres based on feedback from the performers.

We spend a good deal of time with Nick this week and with fellow composer Michael Kropf. Also joining us is Tori Hauk and Jessie Nucho, who together perform as the the flute duo “Siroku.”

“We don’t have any artistic agenda, we don’t want to tell people what to do,” says Nick Benavides, the administrator of GCG and a composer himself. “If they want to express a certain thing with two flutes, we want to help them achieve that vision to the fullest, whatever that vision is.”

The guild’s philosophy and approach seem to be working. To date, the organization has comissioned and premiered over 35 new pieces from over 30 composers.

Most pieces are performed at the Center for New Music in San Francisco and the next event for GCG at the center will take place in October. We have it on our calendar, and suggest you do the same.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in hearing (rather than reading about) the Guerrilla Composers Guild, check out their channel at

Alexandra Iranfar and Timothy Sherren perform as One Great City and debuted “A Small Picture of a Large Place” by composer Michael Kropf. (Photo by Matthew Wasburn)

Guerilla Composers Guild was originally published in BayAreaMusician on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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