American flutist Benjamin Smolen has performed across the globe, from the United States to Europe, Russia, and Japan. He has recently been named principal flutist of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Orange County, California. Since beginning his studies at the age of ten in Charlotte, North Carolina, he has won first prize at the Haynes International Flute Competition and the James Pappoutsakis Memorial Flute Competition and second prize at the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition. He has also given solo performances with the Princeton University Orchestra, the Charlotte Civic and Youth Orchestras, the Gardner Webb Symphony Orchestra, and on National Public Radio’s From the Top with pianist Christopher O’Riley.
Benjamin has had the privilege of working with a wide variety of contemporary composers including Robert Beaser, John Harbison, Helmut Lachenmann, Paul Lansky, Lei Liang, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Joseph Schwantner, and John Williams. As an orchestral musician, he has performed with renowned conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Hugh Wolff, Michael Tilson Thomas, Christoph von Dohnányi, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Herbert Blomstedt, Edoardo Müller, and Robert Spano. His performances have been featured on NPR, WGBH Boston, French National Radio, and the Naxos and Mode record labels. During summers, Benjamin has participated in the Manchester Music Festival, the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, and twice as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.
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 and studied with Michael Parloff, Jayn Rosenfeld, and Aleksandr Golyshev. Benjamin also earned a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance at the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Paula Robison.