The Kennedy Center

Nicolas Lell Benavides


Nicolas Lell Benavides's music has been described as “wonderfully structured and harmonically imaginative.” He has worked with prominent groups such as Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, The Bay Brass, The International Orange Chorale, Friction Quartet, Nomad Session, MUSA, Siroko Duo, and One Found Sound. As the Artistic Director of the Guerrilla Composers Guild (, he has been called a “new music impresario of San Francisco” (KQED Arts). Benavides is currently the composer-in-residence with the wind octet Nomad Session, a fellow at the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy, and a fellow at the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab. He was the composer-in-residence with Elevate Ensemble and has been a resident at the Visby International Composers Centre in Sweden and Avaloch Farm in New Hampshire. In addition to a chamber opera for the Washington National Opera as part of the American Opera Initiative, he is working on a new string quartet for Friction Quartet and music for the ‘for change dance collective’ (fcdc) Nicaragua Project in conjunction with Teatro Catalina in Chinandega, Nicaragua. Benavides has studied composition with Dan Becker, David Conte, Jack Perla, Pamela Quist, and Kurt Rohde. He attended Santa Clara University (B.A.) and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (M.M.). He was previously the managing director of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (Pre-College), and is also a teaching artist with the San Francisco Opera. He is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in composition at the University of Southern California, where he studies with Donald Crockett.
Nicolas Benavides