Michael Kaulkin (b. 1967) is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory having previously studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. He is active in the San Francisco Bay Area as a teacher and as a composer of works for chorus, orchestra, film and the musical stage. His music has been described as “exceptionally beautiful on many counts.”
Kaulkin’s most recent work, Waiting… for chorus, string quartet and piano, was premiered by the Sanford Dole Ensemble in 2012. The string quartet City Walks was premiered in Berkeley, Ca. in 2009 and revived in 2010 as part of the San Francisco International Airport’s “You Are Hear” festival. It was performed again at the HellHot Festival in Hong Kong in the summer of 2012. His most recent orchestral work Letter To Hungary for string orchestra was commissioned by the Hungarian Chamber Symphony Orchestra and premiered in Budapest in 2005. The piece was given its U.S. premiere in 2007 by the Mission Chamber Orchestra.
A much older work, American Standard for clarinet and piano, is popular with clarinetists around the world and is included on a critically acclaimed CD of American works for clarinet and piano called Time Pieces on the British label Clarinet Classics. Other earlier works include Misterium Tremendum for full orchestra, which was premiered by the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and Cycle of Friends, for chorus and chamber orchestra with soprano solo, which was commissioned and premiered by the Music Group of Philadelphia in conjunction with Orchestra 2001.
As a teacher, Kaulkin’s years in Budapest afforded him the opportunity to have a very close look at the Hungarian approach to teaching music literacy, recognized around the world for its effectiveness, and he applies those methods whenever possible. He holds positions on the musicianship and composition faculties of both the San Francisco Conservatory’s Pre-College Division and the Crowden School in Berkeley, and has served as Artist-in-Residence, teaching composition at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA). He has also previously served on the Summer Institute faculty of the Kodály Center at Holy Names University and on the board of the Northern California Association of Kodály Educators. He also offers private lessons and musicianship clinics for choruses.
A native of Washington, D.C., Kaulkin earned his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he studied with Joseph Castaldo, and went on to further study at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary, where he remained for three years, studying composition with János Vajda and choral conducting with István Párkai. After returning from Budapest, he studied composition with Conrad Susa at the San Francisco Conservatory, where he received his Master of Music degree.
Kaulkin is also the founder of Swirly Music, a web store offering composers a venue to sell scores and parts in print.
Michael Kaulkin lives in Oakland, California with his wife, sculptor Georgianna Krieger, and their eleven-year-old son Philo.