Herb Bielawa earned his degrees in piano at the University of Illinois and composition at the University of Southern California. He has been a member of the faculties of Bethany College(Lindsborg, Kansas) and San Francisco State University where he founded the Pro Music Nova and created the electronic music studio and courses for the Computer Music Major. He has written music for instrumental ensembles, piano, harpsichord, pipe organ, choir, electronics, chamber opera, band and orchestra. His much-performed SPECTRUM for Band and Tape was composed during his CMP (Contemporary Music Project) residency in Houston from 1964 to 1966. Since 1991 he has been a free-lance composer and pianist. His interest in American music and the music of women in particular led to a series of concerts in 1986 and 1987 music by Amy Beach and himself.
Soloists who have performed his works include hornist Barry Tuckwell, singers, Ann Carol Dudley,Marian Marsh and Judy Hubbell and Eric Howe, Pianists, Margaret Mills and Joel Sachs, and organists Sandra Soderlund, Alexander Post, Delbert Disselhorst, Pamela Decker and John Fenstermaker.
His music for ensembles has been performed on concerts by Earplay of San Francisco, Composer, Inc., North/South Consonance, San Francisco Contemporary Players, Music Chicago, San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Chamber Singers, Sounds New, San Francisco Chamber Singers, Choral Artists, San Francisco Girls Chorus and several national conferences of the Society of Composers, Incorporated.