Posts in Composer Profile
Composer Profile: Stefan Cwik
Stefan Cwik, composer-in-residence

Stefan Cwik, composer-in-residence

Stefan Cwik, composer-in-residence for Symphony Parnassus, studied composition and guitar performance with Dusan Bogdanovic, and composition with David Conte, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He studied with composer Michel Merlet at the European American Musical Alliance summer program in Paris, France, and completed his graduate studies in composition with John Corigliano at The Juilliard School in New York.

Bassoonist Paula Brusky premiered Cwik’s Eight Miniatures for Chamber Ensemble (Hommage a Stravinsky), a winner of the 2010 Bassoon Chamber Music Composition Competition. It was also was premiered at the 2011 International Double Reed Society Conference. It is published by TrevCo Publishing with a recording on the MSR classics label. Cwik’s piece Acrobats for four-hand piano, commissioned by the ZOFO duet of San Francisco, and winner of the 2013 BMI Student composer award, will be recorded and released on the Sono Luminus label.

While at Juilliard, Stefan won the Orchestral Composition Competition for two consecutive years. His orchestral work Terpsichore was premiered and recorded by the Juilliard Orchestra, and was given honorable mention at the 2012 Minnesota Orchestra Composer’s Institute. The Illusionist, his second winning piece, was given honorable mention at the 2013 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.

Stefan has already collaborated four times with Maestro Stephen Paulson and Symphony Parnassus, premiering his Concert Dances for Orchestra (2009), his Piano Concerto with soloist Scott Foglesong (2011), his English Horn concerto The Sword in the Stone featuring soloist Russ DeLuna (2016), and Luz Dorada (Golden Light) in 2017. His final commission as composer-in-residence for Symphony Parnassus is Relics: Dances for Percussion Quartet and Orchestra, to be premiered on today’s program.

Stefan Cwik is currently professor of music theory and musicianship at SFCM. Stefan is a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). Examples of his music can be found on his website,, and can be requested by contacting him via email at

Composer Profile: Timothy Higgins

Composer Timothy Higgins’ piece, Sinfonietta, for brass ensemble and percussion, will open the March 18 concert with Symphony Parnassus. Higgins, principal trombone with the San Francisco Symphony, in the Robert L. Samter Chair since 2008, is a Houston, Texas, native who began composing several years ago for players in the orchestra and other musician friends. His compositions and arrangements have been heard in San Francisco Symphony chamber and holiday concerts.

“I feel like my job as a composer is to create something that will hopefully have its own life afterwards,” Timothy said. “I compare it to parenting: I’m ‘raising’ this piece, then at a certain point you cut the cord and let it go, and hope that it has everything it needs to survive.” 

Prior to his post in San Francisco, Timothy was the acting second trombonist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.  He has a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Northwestern University and has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, Grand Teton Music Festival, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Washington National Opera, and Baltimore Symphony. 

In addition to his busy performing career, Timothy is a sought-after arranger of music. He was the sole arranger of the National Brass Ensemble’s Gabrieli recording. Additionally, he has arranged music for CT3 Trombone Quartet, National Brass Quintet, Bay Brass, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Brass Ensemble. He has also composed works for brass instruments in solo and chamber settings.

His arrangements and compositions have been performed by the Washington Symphonic Brass, the Bay Brass, the San Francisco Symphony brass section, the Chicago Symphony brass section, the Los Angeles Philharmonic brass section, and numerous university brass ensembles . His arrangements and original compositions are available through his publishing company, 415Music.

As a teacher, Timothy been a faculty member of the Pokorny Seminar since 2012, and is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and at Northwestern University. He has also led masterclasses in Japan, China, Canada and the United States, including classes at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, the New World Symphony, and the Juilliard School of Music.

In 2005, Timothy won the Robert Marstellar Solo Trombone Competition, as well as the ITA Trombone Quartet competition with CT3.  While attending the Tanglewood Music Center, Timothy was awarded the Grace B. Upton Award for Outstanding Fellow. In 2013, Timothy released his solo CD, Stage Left which is available from his website:

Composer Profile: Preben Antonsen

Preben Antonsen (b. 1991) graduated from Yale University in 2013, majoring in music and computer science. He has been composing since he was a small child, and studied composition with John Adams from 2001-2009. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra premiered his first orchestral work in March 2009. NPR’s program “From the Top” featured Preben as a young composer in 2008. Sarah Cahill commissioned him to write a piano work for her anti-war project, “A Sweeter Music,” which she performed in Berkeley and New York. He is a 2005 BMI Student Composer Award winner, and ASCAP recognized six of his compositions with Morton Gould Young Composer Awards in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010. He collaborated with other teenage composers and instrumentalists on the Bay Area new music concert series, “Formerly Known as Classical,” which seeks to engage teenage audiences.

Preben transcribed John Adams’ Second String Quartet for two pianos as Roll Over Beethoven, performed by Christina and Michelle Naughton in March 2016. The new music ensemble After Everything has premiered two of his works, Instruments of Straw for string orchestra and A Basil Tale for soprano and ten players.