Tikey Zes was born in Long Beach, California on October 10, 1927, and began his musical training on the violin and piano at the age of 5. He received his Master of Music degree in violin and composition, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition (under Ingolf Dahl) from the University of Southern California.
He became a professor of music at San Jose State University in 1964 where he taught Theory and Composition until 1991 when he retired. During this time he was concertmaster of the Musicke Faire Chamber Orchestra for many years. In 1976, while on sabbatical leave in Greece, he studied the notation and transcription of Post-Byzantine Chant and made numerous transcriptions of the chant.
Dr. Zes has directed Greek Orthodox choirs since 1953 and has been the director of the St. Nicholas Choir of San Jose, California since 1971. He has been guest conductor and workshop clinician for the Greek Orthodox Choir Federations throughout the United States and has composed/arranged extensively for the services of the Orthodox Church, including 5 liturgies (one in English). In addition he has written numerous arrangements/compositions for chorus and piano based on Greek folk and popular songs. In 1976 he received the Patriarch title of "Offikion" (letter of patent) from the Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrius and was conferred as "Archon of the Great Church of Christ" for his distinguished work in Church Music.
He was appointed Music Minister for the San Francisco Diocese in 1993 and has given many Church Music Institutes throughout the diocese. In 2005 and 2006 Dr. Zes inaugurated a Conductors Training Academy for choir directors in the metropolis, the first of its kind for the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States. (Metropolis of Boston; Federation of Green Orthodox Church Musicians)