Dr. Benjamin Dean Taylor has been selected for the next Kaplan Foundation Commission at Saint Mary’s University. His new work for concert band will be premiered on April 16, 2023, at Page Theatre by the Saint Mary’s University Concert Band, Dr. Janet Heukeshoven, director.
Taylor was selected from more than 60 applicants for this year’s competition. He plans to compose a work based on ancient hymn tunes. Taylor wrote in his application, “I welcome the opportunity to compose a work based on my current research into how Jewish music making has influenced Christian hymnology. I foresee that my musical work will be directly related to the message that we of differing faith traditions actually have much more in common than we do that separates us.” In his application Taylor also wrote, “I’m a descendant of the house of Jacob through Ephraim and thus I come from a strong Jewish heritage. However, my ancestors converted to Christianity and thus I was raised in a Christian faith tradition. Even so, I feel grateful for my Jewish roots and eagerly anticipate connecting with that part of my family’s ancestry through this project.”
The Kaplan Commissioning Project is now in its 22nd year, starting in the year 2000 with new compositions being premiered every two to three years.
Past Commissioned Composers:
- 2000: Steven Barnett Halleil: O Praise the Lord for concert band
- 2002: Lee Kesselman: Let Peace Descend for choir and wind ensemble
- 2004: Philip Rothman: Departure Point for solo piano and wind ensemble
- 2006: Judith Lang-Zaimont: Israeli Rhapsody for concert band
- 2008: Marc Kibrick Bernstein: Ashkenazi Fathers for concert band and jazz combo (with soloist or soloists)
- 2010: Paul Richards: If You Could Only See the Frog for concert band
- 2012: Larry Bitinsky: Katanya for concert band and narrator
- 2015: Steven Rosenhaus: Ayshet Chayil for concert band and baritone voice
- 2018: David Avshalomov: Nigun Prophesy for concert band (w/optional choir)
Composer Biography: Benjamin Dean Taylor is a composer of contemporary concert music. His energetic, adventurous music provides a uniquely refreshing sonic experience for performers and audiences alike. Trained as a trumpet player and pianist, he performs with and writes music for a variety of chamber ensembles, jazz combos and big bands, wind bands, orchestras, and choirs. As a sought-after composer for wind band, Taylor has been commissioned by over 100 band directors of players at all educational levels. Passionate about inspiring the rising generation of musicians, he is the founder and executive director of Music Creators Academy, a yearly summer program that teaches musical creativity in a virtual setting. He received his doctorate degree from Indiana University and currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana with his wife and six children. More information can be found at his website, benjamintaylormusic.com.