Composers-in- and Not-in-Residence

The Choral Artists are committed to fine choral music of all periods and cultures. We have a special commitment to fostering the choral tradition through the support of living composers—both those with recognized, published works and new, emerging choral talent.

Our Composer-in-Residence (CiR) and Composer-Not-in-Residence (CNiR) Programs recognize and encourage choral composers. The goal of our Composer-in-Residence program is to increase the visibility and support of the many talented and prolific choral composers living in the San Francisco Bay Area whose works we have performed—to the delight of our audiences—since the inception of the Choral Artists. Our Composer-Not-in-Residence program seeks to expand our reach and increase the diversity of the music fostered and performed by the Choral Artists.

2014 Composer-in-Residence, Benjamin Taylor

Benjamin TaylorA young composer who is being increasingly recognized across North America for music of artistry and energy, depth and delight, Benjamin Taylor has written works for nearly all genres. His music has been heard in concert halls, churches and rock clubs, on radio and television, performed by ensembles such as the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, San Francisco Choral Artists, Princeton Singers, Young People’s Chamber Orchestra, and Festival Choir of Madison.

Born in Kyoto, Japan, Taylor spent the majority of his formative years in Santa Rosa, CA. His early musical experiences were in rock and jazz ensembles, but he then spent several years studying medieval and Renaissance music while earning two degrees in composition. Since returning to the Bay Area, Taylor has served as composer-in-residence of the Sonoma County Chamber Singers, music director of the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Santa Rosa and the Albany Community Chorus, and guest conductor for the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Preparatory and Repertory Orchestras. He is currently Director of Education for the Santa Rosa Symphony.

2014 Composer-Not-in-Residence, Kala Pierson

Kala Pierson (b. 1977) is an American composer and sound artist. Vivid and rhythmically free, her works have been performed by ensembles and soloists in 26 countries on six continents, widely commissioned, and published by Universal Edition. Her music’s “seductive textures and angular harmonies” (Washington Post) are “intricately structured, both mathematical and lyrical” (Dnevnik). She primarily sets texts of cultural and political significance by living writers, producing works of “marvelous political power” (Louis Andriessen). With deep interests in non-western cultures and musics, Kala has founded or co-founded many cross-cultural projects and collaborations. She has a special interest in lyrical settings of non-fiction prose, such as texts by Iraqi artist Esam Pasha and American journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Kala won the SFCA New Voices Competition in 2008, and her work Esam Pasha, an audience favorite at our world premiere in June 2008, was programmed again in 2010.

Kala lives in Philadelphia with her two spouses and son. She greatly values listener comments and contact; visit, follow kalapierson on Twitter, or email her at

Kala’s Website
Kala’s Twitter feed