Benjamin Downs has been the director of MacPhail’s Overture Program since 2017, and teaches theory as part of the program. He also teaches in the piano department. He holds 15 years of private teaching and classroom experience, working as a teaching assistant at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Stony Brook University and the University of Illinois. He has also served as a faculty member at many pre-college schools.
Benjamin enjoys helping committed students nurture a lasting engagement with music. Former students have gone to top schools including the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the Manhattan School of Music, but he enjoys teaching anyone with the desire to become a sensitive and intelligent musician.
Benjamin has been a prizewinner in many national and international piano competitions including the Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Competition, the Chautauqua International Piano Competition, the Northwestern Piano Competition, and the Cincinnati Chamber Music Competition. He has performed throughout the United States, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland as a soloist and with his wife, cellist Rebeccah Parker Downs. He has also collaborated with cellist Yehuda Hanani, and members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Windsor Symphony, and Minnesota Symphony.
He holds a doctorate in Piano Performance from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is a PhD candidate in Music History and Theory at Stony Brook University. Additionally, he was a Fulbright Scholar (Germany) and has attained Suzuki Certification.