"A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one."
Benjamin Stayner is a New York-based music director, conductor, vocal coach, pianist, cellist, and composer. His work has involved productions in theatres and on stages across the United States.
Benjamin is currently conducting Mary Poppins out at Tuacahn Center for the Arts in St. George, Utah for the remainder of their 2022 season. He is also serving as Assistant Music Director and Keyboard 1 on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Cover Conductor and Keyboard 2 for Wonderland. He was recently the music director and conductor of A Bronx Tale at the John W. Engeman Theatre on Long Island. Previously he music directed and conducted the world premiere production of What a Wonderful World at Timber Lake Playhouse, as well as The Sound of Music, Clue the Musical, Evita, and Forever Plaid at Jean’s Playhouse in the summer of 2021. In the fall of 2021, Benjamin traveled with David Shannon as music director, pianist, and singer for David’s Ireland’s Greatest Showman tour. Among many educational theatre productions, Benjamin had the opportunity to assist on a virtual concert of music by Douglas Lyons, as well as a reading of Michael Mott’s In The Light: A Faustian Tale. Benjamin’s first shot at conducting was during his senior year of high school when he conducted Theatre in the Mist’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, which he was awarded Outstanding Orchestra Direction by the Theatre Association of New York State.
As a classical conductor, Benjamin studied with Edward Cumming and Glen Adsit at The Hartt School. During his undergraduate studies, he conducted the Hartt Orchestra and the Foot in the Door Ensemble, the latter for a premiere of his own work, Wake Up!, a concerto for percussion and chamber ensemble. Benjamin has also worked with Tito Muñoz and Eli Spindel during a masterclass with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn and Michael Jinbo during his time at the Monteux School & Music Festival.
As most young students today do, Benjamin started playing cello in fourth grade. In the last fifteen years, he has had the esteemed pleasure of playing with ensembles such as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, String Orchestra of Brooklyn, New Britain Symphony Orchestra, Nutmeg Symphony Orchestra, Universal Artists Festival Opera Orchestra, Monteux Festival Orchestra, Ithaca College Contemporary Ensemble, Hartt Orchestra, and Hartt’s Collegium Musicum. Benjamin has performed in masterclasses for Brant Taylor, Phoebe Carrai, and Darrett Atkins, as well as the Dover Quartet and Lions Gate Trio. He has studied privately with Mihai Tetel, Andrew Mark, and Jonathan Golove. While historically informed performance practice is a love of Benjamin’s and in an effort to extend the canon of new music, he has commissioned and premiered several new works for cello. One such work (Kyle Grimm’s Gone for solo cello and electronics) was premiered at the 2019 Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) national conference.
Benjamin enjoys writing new music of all kinds: musical theatre, incidental theatre, dance, electronic, acoustic, sound art, solo, and orchestral. Because of this, his music tends to draw inspiration from multiple mediums. Benjamin has written incidental music to plays such as The Rimers of Eldritch by Langston Hughes (The Hartt School) and She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen (All in Theatrics/Ithaca College). He has collaborated on dance pieces for Ithaca College’s Shifting Spaces presentation, as well as Fleeting Moments: A Hartt Senior Dance Production. As mentioned above, Benjamin had the opportunity to write a concerto for percussion and chamber ensemble, which he was able to conduct his own premiere. His flute and piano piece, breathe the cool air, was premiered at and in collaboration with the New Britain Museum of American Art. Benjamin studied composition with Larry Alan Smith and Adam Lenz.
Additionally, Benjamin has been a working organist and church musician for the past nine years, serving at churches in Western New York and Central Connecticut.
Benjamin holds degrees in conducting, music theory, and composition from Ithaca College and The Hartt School (University of Hartford).