Benjamin Boone

Dr. Benjamin Boone

Educator, Scholar, Composer and Saxophonist Benjamin Boone, originally from the small textile town of Statesville, N.C., is a Professor at California State University Fresno where he has taught in the areas of music theory and composition since 2000. In 2017, Boone received the “Provost Award for Excellence in Teaching,” and in 2011 he received the “President’s Award of Excellence” from the University Advisory Board for his “integrity, leadership, and commitment to the university.”  Prior to these honors, he was awarded the “Provost Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities,” the “University Faculty Spirit of Service Award” for his design of a Service-Learning partnership with a juvenile court facility in Fresno, and the “Best in Show Award” for his commitment to academic excellence. From 2010-2018 Boone served as the Faculty Service-Learning Scholar for the Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, facilitating the implementation of Service-Learning projects. Boone also instigated and coordinated the CSU Summer Arts Festival courses “Composer-Performer Collaboration” with the Kronos Quartet, Guy Livingston, Kurt Rohde, et. al., and “Jazz and Beyond” with Poncho Sanchez, Theo Bleckmann, Ben Monder, et. al.  Prior to his appointment at Fresno State, Boone taught at the University of Tennessee, where he received the “Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.”

A U.S. Fulbright Scholar to the Republic of Moldova (2005) and to Ghana (AY 2017-18), Boone’s research on speech from a musical perspective has been noted in Oxford’s The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, and in Judith Martinovich’s Creative Expressive Activities and Asperger’s Syndrome (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London,2005). He has also edited manuscripts of Music Theory texts for Schirmer/Wadsworth, McGraw Hill and Prentice Hall.

Boone’s compositions have been performed in over twenty-eight countries -- from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to China, Japan, Australia, Africa, South American and Eastern/Western Europe -- and appear on over twenty-seven CDs of performers/groups such as the Electronic Music Foundation, Vox Novus, the National Flute Choir, and the New Century Saxophone Quartet. His works have also been featured in Film (Guy Livingston’s One Minute More), and have been the subject of stories aired on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition,” National Public Radio’s “Here and Now,” Bavarian National Radio, and French television. In 2012, a consortium of French saxophonists hosted a two-day festival solely devoted to Boone’s compositions in Arcachon, France. His works have garnered over eighteen national/international honors and awards from the International Society of Contemporary Music, the Olympia International Prize for Composition, Billboard Magazine, the National Association of Composers, New Music USA, The American Music Center, the American Composer’s Forum, ASCAP, Meet the Composer/Southeastern Arts Federation, the Southeastern Composers' League, the Delius Foundation, and Boston University, among others.

Boone has performed on saxophone extensively throughout the US and Europe in a number of settings, including performing world premieres of several works. His 2018 Origin Records release, The Poetry of Jazz, with the late U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize recipient Philip Levine, received ecstatic reviews from both jazz and literary outlets such as Jazz Times, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” The Paris Review, and Downbeat (one of their “Best Albums of 2018”),and a ranking of #3 “Jazz Album of the Year” in the latter publication’s 83rd Annual Readers Poll, just behind Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis. The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two,released in January 2019, received similar acclaim and was listed as a #1 or #2 Amazon Best Seller for over three weeks. He is currently working on a third volume, with poets such as Pulitzer Prize recipient Tyehimba Jess, Edward Hirsch, T.R. Hummer, Kimiko Hahn, Lee Herrick and U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.

Boone has received fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, Fundación Valparaíso (Spain), the Aspen Music Festival Center for Compositional Studies/Advanced Master Class Program, "Words and Music" (international composition symposium sponsored by Indiana University and the United States Information Service), A*deVantgarde Festival für Nueue Musik, Munich/Office of the American Consulate, the North Carolina Arts Council Composition Fellowship, the U.S. Department of State, and the Tennessee Arts Commission Composition Fellowship.

Recent classical works include the 2015 orchestral work Waterless Music, which features the recorded poetry and narration of Philip Levine, as well as two amplified 44-quart containers of water. In 2012 Boone completed Fresno Sin Frenos: Mariachi Madness, for orchestra, mariachi band and audience participation, which included a curriculum for elementary students. Both of these works were performed in Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Other recent works include Con Man: The Musical – a multi-media adaptation of Herman Melville’s last work, premiered by acclaimed actor John Fleck (Weeds, etc.) at USC in Los Angeles, in a production directed by Obie – nominated director David Schweizer; Ascencion, a two-hour dramatic cantata for mezzo soprano, piano, choir, Mission bells and Native American instruments (librettist Helene Joseph-Weil); Place Setting DJ, for solo piano, commissioned by Guy Livingston (Paris) for his movie and world tour, One Minute More; Joropo Jam, for guitar and saxophone, commissioned by Alan Durst for his Centaur Records CD, Tangos y Serenades, premiered in Beijing, China and performed at the Kennedy Center; and My Fellow Citizens, and several other works, performed in numerous locations as part of the Vox Novus 60 x60. Boone's compositions are published by Latham Music, Alry Publications, Sentinel Dome, Eighth Note Publications (Canada), GPG and Vester Music.

Boone has presented guest lectures and master classes at the Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), University of Ghana, Academy of Music (Moldova), the University of Magdeburg (Germany), the University of Erlangen (Germany), Charles University (the Czech Republic), the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and the Buenos Aires Festival of Saxophone, among many others in the US. He has been in residence at festivals and colonies such as Fundación Valparaíso (Spain), May in Miami, June in Buffalo, the Bowling Green New Music Festival, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Aspen Music Festival and he has given presentations at conferences such as the Society of Composers (national and regional), National Flute Association, North American Saxophone Alliance (national and regional), National Association of Composers, World Saxophone Congress, Society for New Music, Conference on American Culture, Music Education Association, and International Trumpet Guild.

In addition, Boone has assisted a biologist with the infrasonic recording of rhinoceros vocalizations in Zimbabwe and Zambia; served as a music business manager in New York City; researched the effect of students at a Court School; and designed Service-Learning and Civic Engagement best-practices.

Boone primarily studied with Bernard Rands, Gordon “Dick” Goodwin, Charles Fussell, John A. Lennon and Jerry Coker at the University of Tennessee (BM), Boston University (MM) and the University of South Carolina (DMA).

For a catalogue of works, sound files, research summaries, press, discography, and educational resources, visit

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