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Dr. Brian Ciach

On-Call Instructor of Music Theory at Santa Clara University

Contact me regarding: Becoming a Mentor, Finding a Mentor, Research Collaboration, and Answering Professional Questions

About Me

Brian Ciach (pronounced “SIGH-ack“, born 1977) is a composer and pianist from Philadelphia currently teaching music theory at Santa Clara University and is the Assistant Director and Instructor of Piano, Theory, Composition, and Improvisation at the Hunter School of Music in San Jose, California. His music is evocative and attractive in its imagery, often using intrepid instrumentation and imaginative formal concepts woven from a free and accessible tonal language. Brian has written a Vegetable Requiem (2012) for hand-made vegetable ocarinas, a Second Piano Sonata (2007) that runs out of notes, and Road Trip (2010) for soprano and chamber orchestra, presenting original poetry set in two ways, as if written by two different composers. Collective Uncommon: Seven Orchestral Studies on Medical Oddities (2012), his Indiana University dissertation inspired by curiosities found in the Mütter museum, received this review: "Ciach was the composer most intent upon letting his imagination run wild all over the music (hence the cabbages and dolls), but he also had the strongest sense of how to create layers of sounds..." (Hubbard, St. Paul Pioneer Press). Brian’s Second Piano Sonata has received both national and international recognition, winning the 2008 National Federation of Music Clubs Emil and Ruth Beyer Composition Award and the 2011 American Liszt Society’s Bicentennial Composition Competition. Also a composer of electronic music, his work Waterclocks was selected for a performance at the 2009 SEAMUS (Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States) National Conference. Ciach's tuba and piano music is published by Potenza Music.

Dedicated to new music, he has performed as pianist in some of the most prestigious concert halls in the US, including Carnegie Hall. He has performed and recorded all of his works for piano, premiered Bells for piano and iPod at Temple University by Paul Geissinger, premiered a piano trio by Maurice Wright, and recorded a CD of new chamber works by Emiliano Pardo-Tristán.

My disciplines and areas of professional expertise include…

Contact me regarding...

  • Becoming a Mentor
  • Finding a Mentor
  • Research Collaboration
  • Answering Professional Questions


  • Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

    • 2011 Doctor of Music, Composition (theory and electronic music)
  • Temple University

    • 2004 Master of Music, Piano Performance
    • 2004 Master of Music, Composition
    • 2002 Bachelor of Music, Piano Performance
  • Delaware County Community College

    • 1998 Associates Degree, Liberal Arts


Courses Taught

  • Applied Composition


    Murray State University

  • Form and Analysis MUS 513


    Murray State University

  • Aural Skills II MUS 170


    Murray State University

  • Intro to Music Synthesis MUS 313


    Murray State University

  • Advanced Orchestration and Arranging Techniques MUS 527


    Murray State University




  • German

  • English