SHANKAR PLAYS SHANKAR
Benjamin Smolen has performed across the globe, from the United States to Europe, Russia, and Japan.
He joined the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in 2011, where he holds the Valerie and Hans Imhof Principal Flute Chair. He has also performed as guest Principal Flute with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Pasadena Symphony. He has given solo performances with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Gardner Webb Symphony Orchestra, Princeton University Orchestra, Charlotte Civic and Youth Orchestras, and twice on National Public Radio’s From the Top with pianist Christopher O’Riley.
In addition to his work on stage, Benjamin is active in the Hollywood scoring industry and has recorded with many esteemed film composers including John Williams, Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri, and Randy Newman. He can be heard on projects such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, X-Men: Apocalypse, The BFG, Ghostbusters, Mozart in the Jungle, Monsters University, Night at the Museum, and on Neil Young’s latest album, Storytone.
Benjamin has given recitals around the world, including performances as a featured guest at the Japan Flute Festival and the National Flute Association’s annual convention. He won First Prize at the Haynes International Flute Competition and James Pappoutsakis Memorial Flute Competition and Second Prize at the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition and National Flute Association Young Artist Competition. His flute and guitar ensemble Duo Musagete, with guitarist Jerome Mouffe, has performed highly acclaimed concerts in the United States and Europe, and they recently released their debut album, Bach to Beaser.
Benjamin has been a guest teaching artist at many esteemed educational institutions. Recent engagements include classes and performances at Chapman University, CSU-Long Beach, CSU-Fullerton, San Diego State University, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of California at Irvine, the Symphony Guild of Charlotte, the Long Beach Summer Flute Institute, and Jim Walker’s Beyond the Masterclass.
Benjamin completed his undergraduate studies in the Music and Slavic departments at Princeton University, during which time he also completed a Performance Diploma at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He earned a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance at the New England Conservatory and pursued additional studies at the University of Michigan and twice as a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. His teachers include Paula Robison, Michael Parloff, Elizabeth Rowe, Jennifer Dior, Jayn Rosenfeld, and Amy Porter.
Benjamin is a William S. Haynes Artist and performs on a handmade, custom-crafted Haynes 14-karat gold flute.