Mary Beth Bennett
Dr. Mary Beth Bennett is an internationally recognized performer, composer and improviser living in Richmond, Virginia. She serves on the music faculty of the University of Richmond and is Organist of Second Baptist Church. Having previously held various positions in Washington, D.C., including at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and as Ceremonial Organist for the United States Government, she holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Stetson University, the Staatliche Hochschüle für Musik (Cologne, Germany), and the University of Southern California. Her organ teachers have included David Craighead, Paul Jenkins, Paul Manz, Michael Schneider, Ladd Thomas and Cherry Rhodes. The winner of numerous awards in performance and composition, she has received commissions in multiple genres from the American Guild of Organists, National Association of Pastoral Musicians, Association of Anglican Musicians, The Paul VI Institute for the Arts, Millennia Consort and various churches, chamber ensembles and private parties. Last year she won a Performance Award from the Guild of Carillonneurs of North America for her work “Valse Triste”, and in 2018, she won the AGO/ECS National Publishing Award in Choral Composition.
She maintains a studio of improvisation students and has served as a judge for the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation. Active as a clinician in improvisation, she has presented seminars for the AGO, AAM, NPM as well as the Smithsonian Institution. Recent articles highlighting her improvisation work have included “Women in Improvisation” by Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra (TAO) and “Spotlight on Improvisation” by Robert McCormick (Diapason). As a performing member of the Liturgical Organists Consortium, she recorded three compact discs which have garnered critical acclaim, including a “Golden Ear Award” for best organ CD of the year from Absolute Sound Magazine. Her latest recording, “Bennett plays Bennett” contains all original works for organ. Her performances and compositions have been featured multiple times on APM’s Pipedreams with host, Michael Barone, and her compositions are published by E.C. Schirmer, Augsburg-Fortress, Concordia, Selah, G.I.A., National, Hope, and Oxford University Press publishing companies. Unpublished works may be obtained through her website: www.MaryBethBennett.com.