Over the last quarter century, composer and pianist David Benoit (b. 1953) has been a passionate musical innovator committed to the exploration of many different art forms on the American landscape.
A five time Grammy nominee for his extraordinary and seminal contributions to contemporary jazz, Benoit has also embarked on a multi-faceted journey into the classical music world. This has led to guest pianist and conductor spots with numerous top symphonies and philharmonics, four performances at Carnegie Hall (including one with Maestro Leonard Bernstein), a performance on the steps of the Capitol Building with the National Symphony for the annual PBS July 4th event, and the creation of Kobe, a symphonic tone poem about a little girl growing up in postwar Japan.
This piece received its world debut with the Philippine Philharmonic in 2001 and will be performed in 2003 with Kent Nagano conducting the Berkeley Symphony. Benoit also recently completed his first year as Music Director of the Asia America Symphony. His first piano concerto, The Centaur and the Sphinx, will be completed next summer.
The remarkably versatile Benoit has lent his conducting talents and legendary piano performance skills to a wide variety of settings. As a conductor, he has performed the music of Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Camille Saint Saens, Mozart, Francis Poulenc and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. He has given piano performances for Claude Bolling’s Suite For Flute and Jazz Piano, Suite for Cello and Piano, and is scheduled to perform a suite for guitar and piano with Angel Romero at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s annual fundraising concert. He has performed The Peanuts Piano Concerto with several orchestras as part of his tribute to Charles Schulz and the music of Vince Guaraldi, in conjunction with his 2000 GRP tribute recording Here’s To You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years. He is also slated to perform as a guest soloist with Lalo Schifrin and his orchestra.