Michael Kaulkin (b. 1967) is active as a teacher and composer in the San Francisco Bay Area. His choral and chamber music is performed regularly around the world.

Recent choral works include The Noble Art of Music, a 2-minute choral fanfare, Tumbalalayka, an arrangement of the popular Yiddish folksong, and notable chamber works include Zwei Hülshoff Lieder, for soprano, clarinet, viola and piano, American Standard for clarinet and piano, and City Walks for string quartet, which was a finalist for The American Prize in 2015. He has served on adjudication panels, most recently for the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra‘s Emerging Composer Competition and the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition in Debrecen, Hungary.

A native of Washington, D.C., Kaulkin studied composition with Joseph Castaldo at  Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, followed by 3 years’ post-graduate study at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary, under the tutelage of composer János Vajda and choral conductor István Párkai. He earned his Master of Music degree at the San Francisco Conservatory, where he studied composition with Conrad Susa.

Kaulkin’s years in Budapest offered a very close look at the Hungarian approach to musical training, which he applies whenever possible in his teaching activities.  He is on the Musicianship and Composition faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory’s Pre-College Division and has previously served on the faculties of Berkeley’s Crowden School, at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) and the Academy of Art University. An avid adopter and adapter of the Kodály Method, he has served on the faculties of summer Kodály programs at Holy Names University and Portland State University. Some of his writings on topics related to the teaching of musicianship and music theory can be found on his blog on Medium.

Recognizing the need among self-publishing composers for an easy way to make their work available in print, Kaulkin founded Swirly Music in 2014. The web platform now serves as a home for the work of nearly 50 self-publishing composers and hundreds of titles in chamber, choral, vocal and orchestral music categories. As of 2019 he is also General Manager for the acclaimed chamber choir San Francisco Choral Artists.

Selected Works

Choral Works

There’s a whole page for that… &

Chamber Works

American Standard &
for clarinet and piano (c. 9′)

City Walks &
for string quartet (c. 12′)

Zwei Hülshoff Lieder & 
for soprano, clarinet, viola and piano (c. 9′)

Fanfare &
for brass and percussion (2’20”)

Ochestra Works

Letter to Hungary &
for string orchestra (c. 15′)

Misterium Tremendum &
for full orchestra (c. 11′)