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Martin Behnke

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Martin Behnke

Biography

Martin Behnke is an American composer and conductor.

Following several years of teaching music in the California public schools and in colleges and universities in four other states, Martin Behnke came to Willamette University in 1979 as Director of University Bands, later serving as chairman of the Department of Music as well. In addition to his teaching background and 12 years as a professional trombonist, Dr. Behnke has maintained involvement throughout his career as a jazz pianist and composer. In 1985 he received an Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship to study composition with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Norman Dello Joio, and in 1999, an Oregon Council for the Humanities Research Grant to present the life and music of Duke Ellington for the Smithsonian traveling exhibit "Beyond Category."

Dr. Behnke has performed with Ray Brown, Herbie Mann, Benny Golson, Bill Watrous, Clairdee, and Ken Peplowsky, among others. He is an elected member of the Northwest Bandmasters Association.

Following his retirement from Willamette University in 2005, Dr. Behnke relocated to Southern Oregon, where for seven more years he directed the jazz ensembles and taught applied jazz piano and mprovisation at Southern Oregon University. He continues a full schedule as a composer, adjudicator, guest conductor, and jazz pianist.

Dr. Behnke has received numerous commissions for his instrumental and choral compositions.


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