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Rhondda Nunes: Bio

Rhondda Nunes was born in Stockton, California; located in the heart of the San Joaquin delta about 80 miles east of San Francisco and 50 miles south of Sacramento, California.Childhood was spent learning piano from her next-door neighbor, a Canadian-Swedish immigrant; fishing in the delta with her father and learning how to play pool from her Portuguese grandfather.Her mother's family, of English, Welsh, Irish and American Indian heritage emigrated to California from Oklahoma in the late 1930's and Rhondda grew up singing in the Baptist church which nurtured her love of music.

Nothing was taken for granted in the Nunes household and both Rhondda and her brother earned their allowances by feeding and watering the chinchillas that were raised on the family ranch; the Blue Diamond Chinchilla ranch.Rhondda used her allowance to pay for her piano lessons herself; which only increased the value of those lessons to her.Although her teacher Mrs. Nelson was a classical teacher, she encouraged Rhondda to experiment with written music and nurtured her developing improvisatory talent.

Starting in Junior high, Rhondda started accompanying the choir in school and joined the jazz band. She won her first music awards after 9th grade, the most outstanding student in choir and in band.

Continuing on to Franklin High School, Rhondda continued her jazz studies with famed music director Mel Won, whose jazz bands often won firsts in jazz competitions all over the western U.S. She learned to play the bass and was first chair on both the bass and the keyboard. She started to write songs at this time and arranging music for others.She graduated as one of the top ten seniors and won numerous awards and scholarships; too many to mention here.

Attending San Joaquin Delta college she studied composition with Max Simoncic and theory with Kyung-Soo Won; who at the time was the Maestro of the Stockton Symphony.
She continued to win scholarships:the Atherton Scholarship, the Newton award, and won the "Elephant ears" award that was given to the most outstanding student in ear-training.She graduated with an A.A with honors and subsequently transferred to UCLA.

At UCLA, Rhondda one the deans award in Fine Arts for her "Piano Sonata in One Movement". She studied piano with Salome Arkatov (who was herself a student of famed Julliard piano teacher Rosina Lhevinne) and Film Composition with David Raksin (himself a student of Arnold Schoenberg). Rhondda graduated with a B.A. cum laude from UCLA and left Los Angeles to return to Stockton to study at the University of the Pacific.

At UOP, Rhondda was the Teaching Assistant for the Music Theory department and studied composition with Stan Beckler and jazz composition with Ron Caviani.Her song cycle "5 Songs on texts by Emily Dickinson" won a honorable mention in the National federation of Music Clubs annual Song Cycle Contest. Rhondda graduated with a Master's of Music Theory/Composition; and settled as a musician in the Stockton area.

Rhondda has played with many local artists and in many genres in Northern California.Her compositions run the style gamut from contemporary "art music" to jazz, blues, rock, and latin with touches of hip-hop and experimental sounds. She has an IMDB film score to her credit and has been awarded an ASCAP+ grant the last two years in a row.