Percussionist Michael Benedict holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music at the State University College of New York (SUNY) Potsdam and a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. He studied with the legendary percussionist/educator, Jim Petercsak and famed jazz drummers Ray Mosca and Keith Copeland.
Michael has performed and/or recorded with jazz luminaries Gary Smulyan, Harry Allen, Dick Oatts, Ralph Lalama, Steve Nelson, Bruce Barth, Joe Locke, Gene Bertoncini, J.R. Monterose and Nick Brignola. He was a member of the Spike Jones Orchestra and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. He has toured the United States extensively, performing at numerous concert halls, colleges, clubs and festivals and has performed in Europe. In 2012, Michael went on a US State Department tour of Tunisia, Africa where he taught and performed with the Planet Arts Trio.
Michael is currently the leader of three ensembles, Jazz Vibes, BOPITUDE and The Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble. He has released five recordings to date. Downbeat Magazine picked BOPITUDE “Five and One” as one of the Best Albums of 2013. His most recent release, “Circulation: The Music of Gary McFarland”, was an Editor’s pick in Downbeat Magazine and listed as one of the Best Jazz Albums of 2015 by National Public Radio and critics Ted Gioa and Scott Yanow.
Michael is a highly regarded educator and taught high school band, jazz band and music theory in the Northern Catskill Region of New York State for twenty-five years. Michael has an extensive history as a clinician and guest conductor for high school honor jazz ensembles. He has served as the past president of the Albany Musicians Union and the Greene County Music Educators Association. Michael is an Artist Endorser for One Vibe by Marimba One, Soultone Cymbals and Regal Tip Drumsticks.