Monterey County Composers' Forum

Painting by Eyvind Earle

    The Monterey County Composer's Forum is an organization for local composers who are interested in sharing their music with the community.  It was created by Steve Ettinger as a group that would allow any composer to have a piece performed in an inclusive and non-judgmental way.  The forum welcomes individuals of many different ages and musical styles.  Current members of the forum include individuals composing in the classical, popular, and folk styles.

Mission Statement

The Monterey County Composer's Forum is committed to providing quality opportunities for local composers from a variety of backgrounds and presenting their works in a supportive and non-judgmental environment.

   The Forum meets once a month to discuss issues in composition as well as to plan three concerts throughout the year.  Any individual who would like to join the group and have his/her piece on the next concert should come to our next meeting.  For more information about the composer's forum, contact Steve Ettinger by phone- (831) 385-0973 or by e-mail:


Sunday, November 1st, 2015 at 3 pm 

at Hidden Valley Music Seminars

88 West Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley, 93924

My work to be performed at this concert is:

Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in D, Op. 86

Performed by Samsun Van Loon, cello


Rick Yramategui, piano

 On Sunday, Nov. 1st at 3:00 pm, the Monterey County Composers’ Forum will present “Evergreen”, a concert of original compositions dedicated to the memory of longtime member and cellist, Alison Passell. The concert at Hidden Valley Music Seminars, 88 West Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley, will feature the talented Bay Area cellist Samsun Van Loon. Works by composers Dana Abbott, David Canright, Steve Ettinger, Paula Kaiser, Peter Kwiek, Carlton Macy, Ed Moncrief, Alison Passell, David Price, Julie Roseman, Karl Schmidt, Dale Victorine and Rick Yramategui will also feature flute, violin, french horn, piano, guitar and voices. A reception will follow. There is a $10 suggested donation for admission to the concert.  Donations will also be accepted to benefit the Sempervirens Fund.  For more information, contact Steve Ettinger at 385-0973 or at

Below is a schedule for the next Monterey County Composers Forum meetings and concerts in 2015. All of the meetings (see schedule) are on Mondays at 7 PM at Rick Yramategui’s house in Salinas at 19 Hawthorne St. You’ll need to be a member of MCCF to contribute works in these concerts – but don’t have to be a resident of Monterey County. Meetings are not mandatory, but highly recommended. Concert locations are listed below. For more information and to put your work on a program, please contact Steve Ettinger (831) 385-0973, or Dale Victorine (408) 768-1941.


10/12/15 – Monday – 7:00 – Meeting

11/01/15 – Sunday – 3:00 – CONCERT - "Evergreen" (at Hidden Valley Music Seminars in Carmel Valley)


For more information on becoming a member and including your music in one of our concerts, please contact

Steve Ettinger at (831) 385-0973 or Dale Victorine at  (408) 768-1941.


Dana Abbott is a Salinas born amateur composer/arranger.  He has served in church music programs and has sung with the Camerata Singers for over 14 yrs.  His musical training includes piano studies and musicianship classes with side pursuits in harmony and orchestration. A recent collaborative piece with Julia Turner was successfully performed at the Camerata Christmas concert.


Jonathan Barron took piano lessons from ages 5-18, where he was influenced mostly in high school by Chopin. He began writing music when he went to college. He writes mostly gentle themes that he aspires to be used as movie scores, as well as love ballads for voice. He also takes lessons in voice and jazz piano to build more well-rounded musical abilities. Much of his released music can be found at He works in San Jose as a State Farm Insurance agent.


Sakaguchi Benjamin Akeala Belew currently resides in Santa Clara, and is a neo-classical composer-pianist and an artist that draws and paints from life. As a musician, he performs concerts on stage and at homes and works on compositions by commissions. As an artist, he just started "Johnny's Classical Atelier" for artists seeking a classical environment, with live models and subjects to train their skills and make art, and also takes commissions for live portraiture and works freelance as an illustrator. Contact:


David Canright teaches mathematics and researches cryptography at the Naval Postgraduate School. Current musical activities range from singing in choirs and small a cappella ensembles, to playing electric bass and singing in a rock and roll band. He loves the mysterious power of music to move us. His compositions often feature unusual rhythms, and sometimes explore untempered harmony ("just intonation").


Steve Ettinger is the founder and current president of the Monterey County Composers Forum.  He has a B.A. from U.C.L.A and an M.M. from the University of Oregon, both in the areas of music composition.  He has written music for voice, various chamber ensembles, choir, orchestra, and the gamelan, an ensemble of instruments from Indonesia.  He has also written extensively for film, including his scoring of the film, “The Art of Grace,” which was chosen to be shown at the National Association of Composers USA 2010 conference in Portland, Oregon.   Steve has been playing violin since age 5 and has played in many orchestras including the California Youth Symphony, the American Youth Symphony, and the Masters Symphonia.  He lives in King City with his wife and two daughters and teaches music at Hartnell College in Salinas.


Peter Kwiek is a local composer and trouble-maker who plays guitar and sings with the local band, CLEAR BLUE CLAY.  He is also a Professional Geologist and works for Monterey County as a hydrologist.


Mary Lesher studied music both at Hartnell College and CSUMB and was a music instructor at Gadsby's Music Co. and Hartnell College for many years. She's written dozens of songs and has performed them at various concerts in Monterey County . Mary has published a songbook entitled "Creator of Unicorn's Gift" and her CD "We Are All Stardust" is soon due for release. 

Carleton Macy

I compose works ranging from vocal and orchestral to jazz and music for non-western instruments, often integrating a variety of historical and ethnic stylistic influences. My compositions have been performed throughout the United States, in Europe and Asia, and are recorded on INNOVA, Naxos, DAPHENO, and Latvian Radio. Macy’s Composition teachers have included William Bergsma, Robert Suderberg, and Donal Michalsky.



Ed Moncrief is a singer songwriter who has performed on the Central Coast for the past 27 years. He was an original member of Camerata Singers of Monterey County and has recently rejoined that distinguished choral group. Ed, with his wife Judi, was a founding member of Amadeo, a quintet that performed at numerous concerts, fairs, and churches from 1977 to 1993. During its many years together, Amadeo developed a broad repertoire of musical styles and songs including Renaissance madrigals, sacred music, and original compositions. Ed's original songs a rooted in folk music and its expressions of hope for a better tomorrow: yet Ed's melodies and chord structures push beyond the traditional simplicity of the folk song.

Allison Passell has been a 2nd grade teacher since 1989 and has been musically active as performer and composer since early childhood. She holds a degree in music composition from UCSB and has played cello in the Hartnell community Orchestra and other local groups since 1990. She also enjoys playing piano, guitar, flute, and recorder.

David Price has picked up and abandoned numerous instruments over the years, but has gravitated back to the piano, which is probably a total surprise to his early piano teachers. Somewhere along the way he started writing down the songs that came to him, and he's received enough encouragement that now, he can't be stopped. You can find more of his music at

Julie has played the flute since age 9, and started composing in high school. In the 60s and 70s she played with the folk-jazz group “Meridian West,” which was invited by Steve McQueen to perform in his movie “Bullitt.” She plays on the first Friday each month at the Salinas Art Walk, with a band called “Clear Blue Clay” As a Certified Music Practitioner with the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP),  Julie works part time for Coastal Kids Homecare, playing music for children in Hospice care.


Karl Schmidt began composing and arranging music in the fall of 2006 after a hiatus of some forty-plus years.  He attended Lawrence University Conservatory of Music (Wisconsin), graduating in 1959 with a BA in English and minors in Theatre and Music.  During these years he studied clarinet with Clark Brody, principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony, wrote and recorded some incidental music for The Red Shoes, and recorded an album of jazz entitled Windy City Profile. He is principal clarinetist with the South Bay Philharmonic Orchestra, and regularly plays clarinet and saxophone with several quartets, quintets and a 20-piece jazz Big Band.   Since becoming active in NACUSAsf he has composed and arranged dozens of classical and pop pieces, mostly for small ensembles.


Dale Victorine, a California native, has been composing since he was in high school. He’s written piano, vocal, choral, organ, orchestral, and chamber works, and values melody above all else. Recent works include violin sonatas, cello sonatas, string quartets, piano sonatas, woodwind sonatas, choral works, vocal solos, and a piano trio. Largely self-taught, he draws inspiration from the greats of classical music. Other inspirations include nature, psychology, art, poetry, and American ideals. He has recently authored a book on panic disorder and depression titled, “The Inner Agreement”. A member of The American Composers Forum, The National Association of Composers, U.S.A., and The Monterey County Composers Forum, he is active in helping produce several concerts of new music a year. In 2013 his Violin Sonata No. 2 was premiered in Russia by Nikita Sukhikh.


Reverend Rick Yramategui received his BA in Music Education from Whitworth College in Spokane, WA and his M. Div. from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, MN.  An active member of the Monterey County Composers Forum, Rick has been composing and arranging music since his high school days.  He is currently serving as Pastor of Carmel Valley Community Chapel and also teaches Ragtime for the Exploritas program at Hidden Valley Music Seminars.  One of his passions is the study of ancient Christian texts and setting those texts to music.  He has two CDs out: “New Songs from Ancient Wells” and “It’s About Time - Ragtime!”