String Celebration Nomination Forms:
Dr. Stephen Benham
Dr. Stephen Benham is currently Associate Professor of Music Education and Director of Graduate Studies at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He completed his undergraduate training at the University of Minnesota, and conducted his graduate studies at the University of Michigan (M.M.), and the University of Rochester—Eastman School of Music (Ph.D.). At Duquesne, Dr. Benham teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education and string pedagogy.
Prior to this, Dr. Benham held teaching and conducting positions in both public and private schools in Salem, Oregon, and in Ann Arbor and Grand Haven, Michigan. He also served as the Music Director for the Salem Youth Symphony Association in Salem, Oregon and the Holland Area Youth Symphony in Holland, Michigan. Dr. Benham maintains a very active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician, speaker, and adjudicator, with professional appearances in more than 30 states and nearly 20 countries in Europe and Asia.
Dr. Benham is in high demand as a clinician and speaker at national and state conventions. His areas of expertise include string pedagogy, methods, curriculum, assessment, and teacher training. His research interests center on sociological and cultural issues in music education, including studies on increasing music access in underserved populations, the role of music education in ethnic minority communities, culturally relevant pedagogy, and music education and identity construction. His work has been featured in numerous international research seminars and conferences such as the Society for Ethnomusicology. Dr. Benham is the lead author of the ASTA String Curriculum: Standards, Goals, Learning Sequences for Essential Skills and Knowledge in K–12 String Programs. He has also authored several articles and chapters for scholarly journals or books including American String Teacher and Journal of Music Teacher Education.
Dr. Benham is also an active consultant in the development of new music programs in communities without current string programs across the US, in addition to providing expertise to new music education projects in Eastern, Northern, and Central Europe. Under his direction, more than 20 new community music schools have been founded in Ukraine since 1999. He is a nationally-recognized leader in the music education profession, having served in leadership positions in several states and is president of the American String Teachers Association.
Jennifer Sacher Wiley
Jennifer Sacher Wiley has been a professor of music at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA since 1997. She founded the Susquehanna University Orchestra and served as its director for seventeen years. Her conducting career began as an undergraduate at Oberlin Conservatory where she directed numerous student productions such as Pirates of Penzance, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (collaborating with classmate/musical theater aficionado Seth Rudetsky), and a complete production of Copland’s opera The Tender Land. A former conductor of the Williamsport Symphony Youth Orchestra, Maestro Wiley is sought after as a guest conductor, appearing with PMEA sponsored orchestras, the Baltimore High School Honors Orchestra in Meyerhoff Hall, and most recently at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Among her most significant performances was conducting the premiere of Patrick Long’s oratorio Rain, River, Sea at Carnegie Hall in 2008, leading the SU Alumni Orchestra and Choir. Dr. Wiley is the 2005 recipient of the Susquehanna University teaching award, which she earned primarily for her work in founding the SU Orchestra, now an integral part of the music curriculum.
As part of her community music education mission, Dr. Wiley founded and serves as the advisor for Susquehanna Strings, a community string orchestra conducted and managed by SU students. She is also the author of five original “Concert Dramas” for orchestra, which were produced and performed regionally as part of biannual SU Orchestra tours under Dr. Wiley’s leadership.
Dr. Wiley is currently the violin professor at Susquehanna University, and also maintains a precollege violin studio of a dozen students ages 5-17, integrating both college and pre-college studios in a vibrant pedagogy program at Susquehanna. She is a nationally known violin pedagogue, presenting regularly for the American String Teachers’ Association on topics such as Intermediate Level Violin Technique and Repertoire, and The Pedagogy of Vibrato.
Jennifer Sacher Wiley’s early career included full time orchestral appointments with the South Dakota Symphony and String Quartet and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. She also served significant tenures as Principal Second Violin with the Des Moines and Williamsport Symphonies. Dr. Wiley holds graduate degrees in violin performance from the New England Conservatory and the University of Minnesota. Solo violin appearances include concertos with the Penn Central Wind Band, the Williamsport Symphony, the Des Moines Symphony, and the Central Pennsylvania Orchestra. Dr. Wiley lives in Lewisburg, PA with her husband and son. Her daughter is a student at Oberlin College.