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John Benoit

Department Chair of Music / Professor of Music - Trombone and Music Theory
John Benoit provides the department with expertise in music theory and brass performance.


At Simpson College, John Benoit teaches music theory and general music courses, studio trombone, and brass chamber ensembles.  In addition, he is currently the Chair of the Music Department and has served in the past as chair of the Fine Arts Division.

Off campus, Benoit is an active jazz performer (trombone and piano), arranger, and band leader.  He researches American jazz and popular music of the early 20th-century with a particular interest in Iowa’s town bands, circuit Chautauqua performers, and photoplay music of the silent movie era.



Music theory

• Trombone performance

• Early jazz

• Circuit chautauqua

• Silent movie music.



Community Jazz Center Special Recognition Award (2016) for activity as a performer, band leader, arranger, and jazz educator.



• Ph.D., music theory, University of Texas at Austin, 1994

• M.M., music theory, University of Texas at Austin, 1987

• B.M., trombone performance, Louisiana State University, 1985


Ensemble Affiliations

• Ballyhoo Foxtrot Orchestra, leader/arranger/trombonist

• Foxtrot Hotshots, leader/arranger/pianist

• Soya Vista Jazz Orchestra, leader/arranger/trombonist

• Turner Center Jazz Orchestra, trombonist

• Festival Brass Quintet, trombonist


YouTube Clips of Jazz Performances and Film Scores

Party Gras Classic Jazz Band, Cedar Basin Jazz Festival, June 2013, “Bill Bailey”

Des Moines Metro Dixieland Band,  Music Under the Stars, July 2014, “Sunday”

Turner Center Jazz Orchestra, CD: Class’n Jazz, June 2015, “Jig Dog

Foxtrot Hotshots, Noce (jazz club), November 2016, “Nobody’s Sweetheart”

• Silent movie score, Charlie Chaplin's The Rink (27 min), synthesized chamber orchestra, adaptation and orchestration by Benoit, 2020

• Silent movie score, Lois Weber's Suspense (11 min), piano, adaptation and performance by Benoit, 2021