Stephen Benfall, Hovea Music Press composer
Stephen Benfall was born in Perth in 1957. At high school his leaning towards music was well established, and set the path that he was to follow. Between 1975 and 1983 he earnt the Bachelor of Music (Hons) degree, studying composition at the University of Western Australia with John Exton and Roger Smalley. His compositions include works for orchestra, solo instruments, and ensembles. He has also been interested in the area of electronic music---and more recently computer music---and has produced several pieces in this genre.
As a clarinet and saxophone player, Benfall's experiences have encompassed a wide range of styles. He was a member of the Fifth Military District Band for twelve years, and has done session work with the WA Wind Orchestra, the WA Saxophone Quartet, the Grace Knight Band, and others. He has also played with free improvisation groups, rock bands, blues bands, and Big Bands. This practical emphasis in his musical life has influenced his compositional leanings. He has tended to favour instrumental composition over vocal, and writes to suit the technical ability of the intended performers.
Benfall has worked on several dance projects---most recently with the WA Ballet Company in the 1998 production, Malice Through the Looking Glass, with choreographer Edmund Stripe.
Among his several composition prizes is the 1990 Jean Bogan Piano Prize (administered by the University of Newcastle), awarded for his 20 minute virtuosic solo Hammers, and the Sounds Australian Critics Award for a computer work entitled L'Apres midi d'un MIDI .
In addition to his Bachelor of Music (Hons), he has a Graduate Diploma of Education from Edith Cowan University, and currently works part-time as an instrumental music teacher with the WA Education Department.
Stephen Benfall is a Represented Composer with the Australian Music Centre.
© Hovea Music Press 2000
Blues at Eleven: Programme note; Sample of the score
Stephen Benfall's music: List of CDs and scores