Meet Martin Behnke

Posted by Martin Behnke on

Welcome to Timberline Music Company and to Behnke Blog #1! I have incorporated BEHNKE BLOGS into our website as a way to communicate with like-minded band types. I first want to welcome you to the site, thank you for your interest, and introduce myself and TMC to you. You can read about the site and some of the details of my own background elsewhere in the site, but I first want to give you a better point of reference for my perspective and my view of the musical world.

First, I consider myself a music generalist. Both my parents were professional  musicians and teachers. Sunday mornings were for church choir – there really was no choice! And I thought all kids' fathers bought them a trombone when they were in fifth grade - also no choice. I was fortunate to be able to go straight from high school into college, but even though I started out by default as a trombone/piano major, it wasn't until my third year that I knew that music was what I wanted to do for real. So lots of learning and teaching and playing ensued, including several more college music degrees, military band, and teaching at several public schools, community colleges, and finally landing my first university teaching position. All the while, remaining unable to differentiate my equal interest in trombone, piano, bands, orchestras, jazz ensembles, and choral music. Over time, I finally had to trim my activities to keep some kind of sanity.

Forty years later, I no longer play trombone, play only jazz piano, and continue many of my activities in bands and jazz bands. And writing! All of my life I have had more than a casual interest in composition, and was accepted as a composition major at San Jose State University - where both Robert Aichelle and Lou Harrison were on the composition faculty - for my Master's Degree, though I ultimately decided to go in other directions. I have written for band, orchestra, jazz band, vocal jazz ensemble, choir, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, including piano. The highlight of my development as a writer was receiving two Oregon Arts grants, one of which allowed me to travel to New York to study with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Norman Dello Joio, whose music I had revered since playing in my father's high school band. That experience
solidified my deep interest in composition and, together with a lifetime of music experience, now provides the basis and energy for directing my “adolescence of senior life” toward writing. I know you'll find some music of interest in our catalog, and that you'll become a regular with Timberline Music Company as we grow and develop. More is coming – more blogs, more  music. Stay tuned…

Best to each of you!

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