John Benoit

Professor of Music - Trombone/Music Theory

Phone Number:
Office Location:
ARMC 104
Office Hours:
MWF, 9-10 am
TTh, 8:30-9:30 am
B.M. (trombone performance), Louisiana State University, 1985
M.M. (music theory), University of Texas at Austin, 1987
Ph.D. (music theory), University of Texas at Austin, 1994

Dr. John Benoit holds the rank of Professor of Music at Simpson College where he has taught since 1994.  At Simpson, he teaches music theory, applied trombone, brass chamber ensembles, and a first-year seminar on the Prohibition era.  In previous years, he has served as the Head of the Division of Visual and Performing Arts and as Acting Head of the Music Department.  Prior to coming to Simpson, he taught briefly at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.  He holds degrees in trombone performance from Louisiana State University (B.M., 1985) and in music theory from the University of Texas at Austin (M.M., 1987 & Ph.D., 1994).

As a music theorist, Dr. Benoit has presented research on Schenkerian theory and on the atonal music of Luigi Dallapiccola at regional and national conferences in the United States and Canada.  His theory teachers included Drs. Patrick McCreless, Stefan Kostka, Douglas Green, and Roger Graybill.

As a trombonist, Dr. Benoit has studied with Larry Campbell (LSU), Don Knaub (UT-Austin), and George Krem (Iowa City).  He is a past member of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Opera Orchestra, the Austin Jazz Orchestra, and the Texas and Pinnacle Brass Quintets (Austin, TX).

Dr. Benoit remains active as a performer, primarily in the realm of jazz.  He leads two period jazz ensembles.  The first is the Foxtrot Hotshots, an ensemble which endeavors to recreate the pre-swing era jazz styles of 1910s and 20s.  Benoit plays stride piano in this ensemble.  The second group is the Soya Vista Jazz Orchestra, an 8-piece “big band” which performs Cool and mainstream jazz from the 1950s and 60s.  Benoit plays trombone in this group as well as writes all of the arrangements for the ensemble.  In addition to playing in his own bands, Dr. Benoit plays trombone in the Turner Center Jazz Orchestra and the Festival Brass Quintet, and is also a frequent substitute with the Des Moines Big Band and the NOLA Jazz Band.  He is the former leader of the Ballyhoo Foxtrot Orchestra.

Dr. Benoit is currently engaged in research in the history of circuit chautauqua, focusing particularly on the movement’s Iowa roots and the experiences of college age musicians.  He is a collector of antique photographs and postcards of Iowa town bands from the late 19th– and early 20th-centuries.  Many of these images can be seen at his web site, Iowa’s Town Bands, 1890-1930.  Benoit is a member of the Historic Brass Society and the Society for American Music.

Benoit is a native of southwest Louisiana.

Links to video of performances:

  • Benoit, leader/arranger/trombonist, Ballyhoo Foxtrot Orchestra, Bix Beiderbecke Festival, July 2010, “I Got Rhythm”
  • Benoit, trombone,  Des Moines Metro Dixieland Band,  Music Under the Stars, July 2014, “Sunday”
  • Benoit, trombone, Party Gras Classic Jazz Band, Cedar Basin Jazz Festival, June 2013, “Bill Bailey”
  • Benoit, leader/pianist, Foxtrot Hotshots, Noce (jazz club), November 2016, “Nobody’s Sweetheart”
  • Benoit, leader/arranger/trombonist, Soya Vista Jazz Orchestra, Noce, March 2017, “Blue Skies”
  • Benoit, trombone, Turner Center Jazz Orchestra, CD: Class’n Jazz, June 2015, “Jig Dog


Member Department | Meet more Simpson Faculty Staff