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Dr. J. Scott Bennett
Scott Bennett
Biography

"Dr. Bennett is an outstanding musician with the gift of a magician."
Atte Tenkanen, Turun Sanomat, (Turku, Finland)

"...[he] demonstrated admirable technical mastery, confident and persuasive interpretive approaches, and marvelously communicative warmth... he played with a refreshing sense of straightforwardness unencumbered by affectation or distortion, but solidly constructed, flawlessly executed, and movingly rendered. The result was memorable and thrilling."
Michael Sitton, Composer; Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs
Hollins University, Roanoke, VA

"...the energy was unceasing."
Henrik Jansson, Åland's XXVIII Organ Festival (Åland, Sweden)

"Bennett's performances can only be described as outstanding. His playing is characterized by complete assurance in technique, tempo, and registration."
American Record Guide

"Scott Bennett has produced a brilliantly performed CD [Fast and Sinister] of organ music around the central concept of "fast," and in so doing, has touched on many of the hallmarks that define exciting organ music and organ playing. ...astounding virtuosity of playing, and very musical use of registration." 
Jonathan Dimmock: The Living Church

Scott Bennett assumed the position of Organist-Choirmaster at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in July of 1996. Dr. Bennett came to Charleston from Jackson, Tennessee where he was Associate Professor of Organ and Theory at Union University and Organist-Choirmaster at St. Luke's Episcopal Church. In 1981 Dr. Bennett was named a Rotary Foundation Scholar, subsequently undertaking postgraduate studies in organ performance and choral conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, Germany. His teachers there included Michael Schneider (organ) and Peter Neumann (conducting). While in Germany, he served as organist at the Pauluskirke, and accompanied the Kartäuserkantorei under the direction of Peter Neumann. A frequent recitalist, Bennett performed on the West German Radio Network, and played to critical acclaim as the featured artist at the Eleventh Annual International Management Symposium in St. Gall, Switzerland.

Dr. Bennett earned the Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from Stetson University where he studied with Paul Jenkins, and the Master of Music degree in Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, where his principal teacher was David Craighead. After returning from Europe, he began doctoral study at Eastman under the direction of Russell Saunders. He finished his doctoral studies in performance and history at the University of Memphis where his principal teacher was John Peterson. He also holds a Diploma in German from the Humboldt-Institut in Ratzenried, Germany.

Dr. Bennett has performed extensively throughout the southeastern and northeastern United States in church and academic settings. He was invited to perform on the Piccolo Spoleto Organ Concert Series in Charleston, South Carolina in both 1997 and 1998, and conducted the Grace Church Choir in the 1997 Piccolo Spoleto Festival of Churches, presenting performances of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Dona nobis pacem and Four Hymns with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. In 1998 Grace Church Choir was chosen to represent the Anglican Tradition, singing Evensong in the Piccolo Festival of Churches, and participated in a Piccolo Spotlight Concert marathon devoted to the music of J. S. Bach. The Grace Church Choir and choristers of the St. Nicholas Choir (boys and girls) released their first compact disc, Rejoice and be Glad! in 1998. The recording features music of Parry, Duruflé, Stanford, Tavener, Sumsion, Webber, Rutter, Vaughan Williams, and Boyle. Grace Church Choir toured England during July 2000, singing services at York Minster, St. Albans Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, St. Paul's Cathedral-London, Canterbury Cathedral, Guildford Cathedral, and Trinity Church Sloane Street-London. 2001 included three major concerts with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. The Grace church Choir performed the North American premiere of British composer Paul Spicer's Easter Oratorio at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in June as well as a complete performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah in October. Dr. Bennett presented a concert of organ concertos with the orchestra in January. The program included Poulenc's Concerto in G Minor and Joseph Jongen's Symphonie Concertante.

Dr. Bennett recorded his first solo organ CD entitled Fast and Sinister with Pro Organo in January of 2002 on the newly rebuilt and revoiced 61-rank Reuter organ at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. Works of Sowerby, Dupré, Höller, Gade, Reubke, Bonnet, Reger, Widor and Sokola are featured. A second Pro Organo CD was recorded during the same month featuring the Grace Church Choir, the St. Nicholas Choir (RSCM), the tower bell ringers, congregation, and brass and timpani from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. This recording is a combination of choral works and hymns, and features three hymns from the recently premiered British Easter Oratorio composed by Paul Spicer. The 2002 Piccolo Spoleto Festival featured the Grace Church Compline Choir as well as a performance by Dr. Bennett of the complete organ works of Maurice Duruflé. In June of 2002 Dr. Bennett undertook a recital tour in Finland, Sweden, and the Alands, performing on recital series in Helsinki, Turku, Stockholm and Mariehamn (Aland). In April 2003 Bennett appeared as soloist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in their final Master Works performance of the season performing Joseph Jongen’s Symphonie Concertante and Saint-Saens’ Third Symphony.

Dr. Bennett and the choirs of Grace Episcopal Church completed recording sessions for two more CDs with Pro Organo during November of 2003. These two discs are now available. Dr. Bennett is featured in his second solo disc, Alla Rumba, performing works of Duruflé, Vierne, Planyavsky, Strauss, Cocker, Manz, Dupré, Elgar, Anderson, Bach, Langlais, Willan, Schroeder, and Sibelius. It includes works involving the Charleston Symphony brass and timpani. The Grace Church Choir and St. Nicholas Choir are featured on a disc entitled A Land of Pure Delight performing works of Vierne, Mathias, Sumsion, Dankworth, Whitlock, Goodenough, Grayston Ives, Candlyn, Near, Nicholas White, Hurd, Parry, Howells, and Robert Ashfield.

During 2004 Dr. Bennett appeared on concert series in Charleston, SC, Glens Falls, NY, Roanoke, VA, and Washington, DC (National Cathedral).  In 2005 he performed in the Bartok double-piano concerto for percussion and orchestra with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in February, and made his third appearance on the Stetson University Alumni Concert Series in April.

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