Q&A with Troy Bennefield

Troy Bennefield.An advocate for new and diverse music, Troy Bennefield is an associate professor of music, director of athletic bands, and associate director of bands in the School of Music.

He is active as a guest-conductor, adjudicator, clinician, and percussionist, and has commissioned or joined consortia for projects, including a collaboration for wind band and wind quintet made possible through a WSU Arts and Humanities Fellowship.

What is your main research topic?
Currently I am researching unpublished music by composers killed in the Holocaust and official bands in the concentration camps.

What classes do you teach at WSU?
Athletic bands, symphonic band, music theory for non-majors, conducting with Danh Pham and I assist him with Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

What brought you to WSU Pullman?
I applied for the WSU Cougar Marching Band director job when Don Hower was retiring, not knowing much about the school or area and was fortunate to get an interview. When I visited, I fell in love with it…we were expecting our first child and this felt like the perfect place to raise our family. Luckily I was offered the job and now I’m in my 7th year here!

How has COVID1-9 changed how you teach?
I haven’t conducted a band or taught face-to-face since March 11, 2020. It’s very difficult to teach a band, especially the marching band, when all you can do is be on Zoom. However, we’ve discovered some useful technical strategies that we’ll actually use in the future, and it’s been rewarding to produce virtual performances to help give spirit to the WSU community.

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I’m a huge sports fan. I’ve been to over 200 college football games and this is the first year since 2009 I haven’t been to one, and since first since 1993 I haven’t been to at least a high school game.

Top image: Troy Bennefield

Adapted from WSU Pullman’s Faculty Friday series on Facebook.