Keith Benjamin joined the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance as professor of trumpet in 1989 with a Doctor of Musical Arts and a Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. While in New York, he performed with the Rochester Philharmonic and held principal chairs in three other orchestras. Current orchestra positions include principal trumpet in the Colorado MahlerFest, guest principal trumpet in Orchestra Iowa, and extra trumpet for the Kansas City Symphony.
In addition to orchestral playing, Dr. Benjamin is an active recitalist and chamber musician, and is first trumpet in the Missouri Brass Quintet. His recitals frequently feature contemporary music, and he has commissioned and premiered numerous works, including compositions of Samuel Adler, James Mobberley, Peter Hamlin, Stephen David Beck, Eugene O’Brien, and many others. Recital and concert appearances in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and more than 35 states are “traveling” highlights, and Kansas City also affords him the opportunity to have a lively professional career as a commercial, studio, and lead trumpet player; recent performances have been with Ben Folds, Peter Gabriel, and Idina Menzel. Dr. Benjamin has presented master classes and clinics at dozens of universities and colleges in the United States and overseas.
Dr. Benjamin is partnered with Los Angeles organist Melody Steed in Clarion, a trumpet and organ duo that emphasizes 20th century music. The duo has released two compact disc recordings on Gothic Records; the second recording, Clarion: New Vintage, was comprised of five commissioned American works. The duo completed a highly successful performance tour of Hungary in summer 2006. Plans for a third CD recording of all commissions are in place, with new works by Adler and Mobberley as well as commissions from Steven Bryant, Tony Plog, and Adam Schoenberg.
Dr. Benjamin is an Artist-Clinician for the Selmer/Bach companies. He makes his home in Kansas City with his wife Jennifer and their two sons, Duncan and Rowan.