Warren Benson

Warren BensonA professional performer by the age of 14, Warren Benson (1924-2005) played timpani in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Ormandy, Reiner, Goossens, Bernstein, and others while an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. He also was the percussion instructor there during his freshman year, 1943. From 1950-1952, Mr. Benson was awarded two successive Fulbright grants to teach at Anatolia College in Salonika, Greece. There he established a five-year bilingual music curriculum and organized the Anatolia College Chorale, the first scholastic coeducational choral group in that country. After 14 years at Ithaca College (where, in 1953, he organized the first touring percussion ensemble in the eastern United States—and the second worldwide), Mr. Benson became professor of composition at Eastman. During his tenure (1967-1993), he was honored with an Alumni Citation for Excellence and the Kilbourn Professorship for distinguished teaching, and was named University Mentor. In 1994 he was appointed Professor Emeritus. Mr. Benson’s music has been performed in more than 40 countries, and more than 30 of his works have been commercially recorded. He received numerous awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Composer Fellowship and three National Endowment for the Arts composer commissions. In addition to his published music and humorous fiction, he celebrated his 75th birthday with the publication of a book of verse.

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