Discipline: Music Composition

Tom Benjamin

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: Ellicott City, MD
MacDowell Fellowships: 1975, 1982, 1996

Thomas Benjamin was born in Bennington, Vermont, in 1940. He received his degrees from Bard College, Brandeis, Harvard, and Eastman, studying composition with Carlos Surinach, Ernst Krenek, Arthur Berger, and Bernard Rogers. Benjamin has composed works for all media, including concertos for violin, piano and viola, orchestral pieces, oratorios, cantatas, five operas, many song cycles, and a great deal of chamber and choral music. More than 50 of his chamber, choral, and keyboard works have been published. He has won a wide variety of composition prizes in the U.S. and abroad and has received numerous grants, awards, and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, Meet-The-Composer, the National Music Theater Network, the Barlow Foundation, and many others. Benjamin is a fellow of MacDowell, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the Virginia Center. He is the author of two books on counterpoint, published by Schirmer books, and co-author of three music theory texts, published by Wadsworth. Still active as a composer, clarinetist, and choral conductor, he taught for many years at the National Music Camp (Interlochen) and the University of Houston’s School of Music. He recently retired from teaching theory and composition at the Peabody Conservatory of The John Hopkins University, where he was for some years Chair of the Department of Music Theory.


Van Zorn (formerly Kirby)

Tom Benjamin worked in the Van Zorn (formerly Kirby) studio.

Constructed thanks to a bequest from Sarah L. Kirby, Kirby Studio was the last new building to be erected during Mrs. MacDowell’s leadership (1907-1951). The load-bearing masonry walls were laid by local mason Augustus Beaulieu atop a fieldstone foundation. A 1995 renovation preserved the brick fireplace with wooden mantel and…

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