Beau Benson - Conductor / Artistic Director
Beau Benson is currently in his ninth season as Music Director and Conductor for the Oregon East Symphony and Chorale and his twelfth year as Director of Orchestras for the Midway Independent School District. In addition, he is completing his seventh season as the Conductor for the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Beau Benson is the recipient of the 2015 Marjorie Keller Young String Teacher of the Year Award given by the Texas Chapter of the American String Teacher Association. He also received third place in the competition for the 2012 and 2015 American Prize in Orchestral Conducting and was a semifinalist for the 2011 Vytautus Marijosius Prize in Opera Conducting. As a guitarist, Dr. Benson has been a finalist in the United Kingdom’s Stafford International Guitar Recital Competition, and has been the recipient of a grant from the D’Adarrio Foundation to support activities as a recitalist in Italy. His recent guest conducting includes engagements with the Fort Worth Symphony, All Cape Festival Orchestra (Cape Cod, MA), Rapides Symphony Honor Orchestra (Alexandria, LA), Camerata Dallas, and the Central Texas Choral Society.
Concurrent to his first two years in Waco, Dr. Benson served as Principal Conductor for the Metroplex Opera in Dallas, Texas, following three seasons as Music Director/Conductor of the Mason Orchestral Society in Mason, Michigan. Prior to his time in Michigan, Dr. Benson worked as Music Director of the Texas A&M University Symphony Orchestra and Assistant Conductor for the Flower Mound Symphony. Additional posts he has held include: Associate Conductor for the Flower Mound Community Orchestras, Assistant Conductor for the Frisco Symphony, Assistant Conductor for The Living Opera, and Resident Conductor for the University of Houston’s annual guitar festival.
As a soloist, Dr. Benson has appeared with the North East Texas Symphony, Orchestra of New Spain, Mesquite Symphony, Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Houston Civic Symphony. He has also performed as a guest artist for the Dallas Basically Beethoven Festival, University of Houston, Rice University, Kansas City Guitar Society, Dallas Guitar Society, American Musicological Society’s annual conference, Spanish Consulate, Guitar Houston, and Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series.
Dr. Benson’s compositions have been performed by the Flower Mound Chamber Orchestra, Houston Civic Symphony, Meadows Wind Ensemble, New Texas Symphony, Mason Symphony, Lewis and Clark College Symphony Orchestra, Academy Musique of Temple College, Oregon East Symphony, and the Jugend Guitarren Orchester of Hessen, Germany, which premiered his overture Celaeno on its 2005 tour of Poland, subsequently releasing it on their 2007 recording Klangwelten in Holz und Nylon.
Dr. Benson’s scholarly research has focused on American orchestral music prior to 1900. In addition to championing this repertoire in his programming, he has prepared a critical edition of the third symphony by the 19th century New York composer George Frederick Bristow. A grant from Michigan State University allowed him to examine the autograph manuscript as well as the two extant sets of parts (one from the 1859 premiere, and one commissioned by the WPA during the 1930’s) in compiling the new edition.
Beau Benson received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting at Michigan State University. He received his Masters degree in Orchestral Conducting from Southern Methodist University, where he also earned bachelors degrees in classical guitar performance and music education. He currently lives in Waco, Tx with his wife Amy and their children Loïe, Charles, and Henry.