The Instrumental Music Program offers a variety of performing opportunities for all students. No matter their major, skill level, or instrument, we have an ensemble that is right for everyone. Current program offerings include the Wind Symphony, the Wind Ensemble, the String Philharmonia, the Brass Ensemble, and various other large and small chamber ensembles. Additionally, the College offers courses in jazz, including the Jazz Ensemble, Laboratory Band (Latin Jazz Band), jazz combos, and jazz improvisation. For more information on each ensemble click on the corresponding link at the right or contact Dr. Nikk Pilato, Director of Bands, or Professor Jeff Ellwood, Director of Instrumental Jazz Studies, for more information.
Jeff Ellwood is the Director of Instrumental Jazz Studies. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Berklee College of Music and Master of Music degree from Cal Sate Fullerton. He has studied with: Rick Margitza, George Garzone, James Moody, Bill Pierce, & Gary Foster. Jeff has performed with: Tony Bennett, Alan Pasqua, Bill Cunliffe Big Band, Jimmy Haslip, James Moody, Joe Zawinal, Randy Brecker, Christian McBride, Stevie Wonder, Bob Mintzer, Eddie Daniels, Arturo Sandoval, Dave Grusin, John Williams, and Quincy Jones to name a few. Jeff is a Yamaha Performing Artist.
Nikk Pilato serves as Director of Bands. In this capacity, he oversees all facets of the College’s band program, and contributes to the school’s mission through teaching, service, research, and scholarly/creative endeavors. Dr. Pilato is the Principal Conductor of the Mt. SAC Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble, the Brass Ensemble, and the Chamber Winds.
Pilato received the Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Music Education, and Ph.D. in Music Education and Instrumental Conducting from the Florida State University College of Music in Tallahassee, Florida. His primary conducting teachers were Richard Clary, Patrick Dunnigan, and Jim Croft. His dissertation, a transcription for winds of Joseph Schwantner's New Morning for the World, is published by Schott-Helicon Music.
Prior to his appointment at Mt. SAC, Pilato was the Associate Director of Bands at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music (California State University - Long Beach), Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Georgia, held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Louisville, served as Director of Bands and Orchestras at J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs, Florida, and was Director of Bands at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
In 2008 he founded the Wind Repertory Project, a comprehensive database of wind literature, expanded by user contributions much like Wikipedia. The database includes information such as instrumentation, program notes, errata, study resources, articles, commercially available recordings, and more. In the three years since its inception, the WRP has already amassed over 2,300 user-submitted entries, and has been visited over three million times.
Dr. Pilato maintains a busy profile as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor.