Rhett Bender

Rhett Bender, D.Mus.A.

Professor of Music
Saxophone, Chamber Music, Graduate Research & Theory

Phone: (541) 552-6534
Office: MU 207
E-Mail: bender@sou.edu


BM, 1992, Iowa State University
MM, 1994, D.Mus.A., 2000, University of Georgia

Other Professional Activities:

  • Director of the Siskiyou Saxophone Workshop
  • Region 1 Past Director: North American Saxophone Alliance
  • Founding member and soprano saxophone, Globe Saxophone Quartet
  • Director Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra
  • Director of the Cascade Clarinet Choir

Rhett Bender, D.Mus.A., is a Professor of Music at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University where he teaches music theory and saxophone performance.  Bender is a founding member and soprano saxophonist with the Mazama Saxophones and Globe Saxophone Quartet, a musician with the guitar-saxophone duo JitaZax, the Artistic Director for the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra and Cascade Clarinet Consort; woodwindist with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and saxophonist with the Rogue Valley and Britt Festival Symphony Orchestras.  He is the past Region 1 Director of the North American Saxophone Alliance (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming). Bender travels to China as Guest Artist-Teacher at the Sichuan Conservatory of Classical Music, Honorary Advisor to the Chengdu Saxophone Society, Visiting Professor at the College of Arts of Yantai University and Guest Artist for the Yantai Children’s Palace of Music and Art. Bender earned degrees from Iowa State University (BM) and the University of Georgia (MM, DMA) where he was a student of Kenneth Fischer. 

As a saxophone artist-teacher Rhett Bender was the featured cover interview for the May/June 2011 issue of Saxophone Journal. As the Director of the Ashland Chamber Music Workshop he was featured in the March 2012 issue of Strings Magazine for the innovative approach to chamber music education in “An Intensive Chamber Program That Can Keep You Guessing.” His book An Annotated Bibliography of American Saxophone Quartets is published by Lambert Academic Publishers. Bender’s The Saxophone is NOT a Clarinet! is published by Texas Band Master’s Association and Bandworld Magazine. 

An active soloist and clinician, Bender has performed or presented master-classes at the XIIIth, XIVth, XVIth, and XVIIIth World Saxophone Congresses, Chengdu China International Contemporary Music Festival, Chengdu Saxophone Forum, Montana Saxophone Festival, the College Music Society, the Kentucky Music Teachers Association Conference, the Iowa Band-Masters’ Association, the College Band Directors National Association, the North American Saxophone Alliance, and the Southeastern Composers’ League. In 1998 he won first prize in the Frances Walton Competition for classical musicians. As a member of the Athens Saxophone Quartet (now the Globe Saxophone Quartet), Bender was a first prize winner in1995 National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors National Symposium Chamber Music Competition and twice competed in the semi-final round of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. In 2007 the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra directed by Rhett Bender was honored with sponsorship by Mercury Saxophones LTD to perform at the Shanghai China Music Trade Show. In 2009 the SSO was selected for performance at the XVth World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok, Thailand and again for the 2012 XVIth World Saxophone Congress in St. Andrews, Scotland.

This past year Rhett Bender performed throughout China, Croatia, Sacramento, Nevada and California. In February of 2019 Rhett Bender premiered Carleton Macy’s concerto Duality for alto saxophone and orchestra with the Carson City Symphony (Nevada). His live performances have been broadcast over KING-FM in Seattle, Peach State Public Radio, Iowa Public Radio, and Jefferson Public Radio. He is one of the featured saxophonists on AUR’s America’s Millennium Tribute to Adolphe Sax. His solo saxophone CDs are Transformations and Meldings. Rhett Bender is a Conn-Selmer Artist Clinician and performs exclusively on Selmer Paris saxophones.