Benny Golson Jazz Festival

Monday, December 4, 2023

Register your group!

Event Overview

The Benny Golson Jazz Festival was created to honor the life and legacy of the legendary saxophonist/composer, who received an honorary doctorate from Butler University in 2019. The purpose of this late fall, non-competitive festival is to provide students and directors with impactful educational opportunities and inspiring performances.

Participating ensembles and combos will perform for and participate in clinics and masterclasses with our Butler University School of Music faculty members and guest artists. The festival will take place on the campus of Butler University and will conclude with a free, evening concert featuring the Butler University Jazz Ensemble. View the full event schedule, guest artist and clinician info, and more below.

Who is eligible?

Middle school and high school Jazz ensembles and combos. We will have capacity for 12 large ensembles and a limited number of smaller combos. Advance registration is required.


The participation fee structure is $250 per Ensemble and $200 per Combo, this fee includes the cost of the evening concert. Payment submission instructions are included on the registration form as well as in the “Information for Participating Groups” tab below. Full payment is due no later than Monday, November 20.

Registration Deadline

Completed registration forms are due by November 1, 2023.

Benny GolsonBenny Golson

Multitalented and internationally famous jazz legend, – a composer, arranger, lyricist, producer – and tenor saxophonist of world note, Benny Golson was born in Philadelphia, PA on January 25, 1929.

Raised with an impeccable musical pedigree, Golson has played in the bands of world famous Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Earl Bostic and Art Blakey.

Few jazz musicians can claim to be true innovators and even fewer can boast of a performing and recording career that literally redefines the term “jazz”. Benny Golson has made major contributions to the world of jazz with such jazz standards as:

Killer Joe, I Remember Clifford, Along Came Betty, Stablemates, Whisper Not, Blues March, Five Spot After Dark, Are you Real?

Benny Golson is the only living jazz artist to have written 8 standards for jazz repertoire.

These jazz standards have found their way into countless recordings internationally over the years and are still being recorded.

He has recorded over 30 albums for many recording companies in the United States and Europe under his own name and innumerable ones with other major artists. A prodigious writer, Golson has written well over 300 compositions.

For more than 60 years, Golson has enjoyed an illustrious, musical career in which he has not only made scores of recordings but has also composed and arranged music for:

Count Basie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Mama Cass Elliott, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Shirley Horn, David Jones and the Monkees, Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee, Carmen McRae, Anita O’Day, Itzhak Perlman, Oscar Peterson, Lou Rawls, Mickey Rooney, Diana Ross, The Animals (Eric Burden), Mel Torme, George Shearing, Dusty Springfield

His prolific writing includes scores for hit TV series and films:

M*A*S*H, Mannix, Mission Impossible, Mod Squad, Room 222, Run for Your Life, The Partridge Family, The Academy Awards, The Karen Valentine Show, Television specials for ABC, CBS and NBC. Television specials for BBC in London and Copenhagen, Denmark. Theme for Bill Cosby’s last TV show, A french film ‘Des Femmes Disparaissent” (Paris)

He has written music for national radio and television spots for some of the major advertising agencies in the country. Some of these commercials were for:

Borateem, Canada Dry, Carnation, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Clorox, Dodge, General Telephone, Gillette, Heinz Foods, Jack in The Box, Liquid Plum’r, MacDonald’s, Mattel Toys, Monsanto, Nissan, Ohrbachs, Ore-Ida Frozen Potatoes, Parliament Cigarettes, Pepsi Cola, Texaco

Benny Golson has absolute mastery of the jazz medium. He has not only blazed a trail in the world of jazz but is passionate about teaching jazz to young and old alike. He has lectured at the Lincoln Center through a special series by Wynton Marsalis. He has lectured to doctoral candidates at New York University and to the faculty at National University at San Diego.

Honored with doctorates from William Paterson College, Wayne, NJ and Berklee School of Music, Boston, MA, Dr. Golson has also conducted workshops and clinics at:

Appalachian University, Boone, NC

Berklee School fo Music, Boston, MA

Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY

Howard University, Washington, DC

Julliard School of Music, New York, NY

Manhattan School of Music, New York, NY

New England Conservatory

Paris Conservatory, Paris, France

Rutgers University, New Orleans, LA

Stanford University, Stanford, CA

University of Denver, Denver, CO

University of Idaho, Moscow, ID

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, Appleton, WI

William Paterson College, Wayne, NJ

Golson’s musical odyssey has taken him around the world. In 1987 he was sent by the US State Department on a cultural tour of Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore. Later, Philip Morris International sent him on an assignment to Bangkok, Thailand to write music for the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra.

A live performer who consistently knocks audiences off their feet, Benny Golson has given hundreds of performances in the USA, Europe, South America, the Far East and Japan for decades.

Benny is also working on a major college textbook and his autobiography.

This humble musical giant continues to impress critics, fans and fellow musicians with his prodigious contributions to the world of jazz.

General Schedule

  • Clinics, Performances, and Masterclasses from 3:00-7:00 PM in the Schrott Center for the Arts and Lilly Hall at Butler University.
  • Closing Concert 7:30-8:45 PM in Schrott Center for the Arts at Butler University. Tickets are included with the festival participation fee.
  • View interactive campus map online or download PDF version.

Festival Format and Details

  • Non-competitive.
  • Each band will receive one hour in their assigned performance room during which there will be time for a brief warm-up before the clinic begins.
  • There will not be separate warm-up rooms.
  • To allow for maximum clinic time, we recommend that you program no more than 15 minutes of music. Pieces in progress that are not at performance level are also welcome.
  • Clinicians will provide verbal comments that will be recorded, there will not be any written comments or scores.
  • Family and friends are welcome to attend. 
  • View interactive campus map online or download PDF version.

Special Guest

Sophie Faught in a hat and sunglasses playing tenor saxophoneSophie Faught, tenor saxophone

Tenor saxophonist Sophie Faught is an improviser, composer, bandleader, and teacher.  Raised up by some of Indiana’s great jazz musicians and educators – Harry Miedema, Brent Walarab, Claude Sifferlen, Mark Buselli, and David Baker – Sophie speaks the jazz language with creativity, wit, passion, depth, and soul.  Sophie’s music is mindful of tradition, without being held captive by it.

Sophie has performed in venues across the country and world, including Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City and the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  She has headlined at the nationally recognized Portland Jazz Festival, leading her own group in original compositions and jazz standards.  She has toured as a member of the Nicholas Payton Jazz Quintet, and has also appeared with Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Terrell Stafford, and Dick Oates.   She currently leads her own jazz trio and performs periodically in Bloomington and Indianapolis (check Facebook for an updated performance schedule). DAY ONE (August, 2013) was the group’s debut album. The group’s second release, THREE MUSES (April, 2015), is a collection of original music inspired by the paintings of local artist Steven Sickles, and was first presented as a limited edition deluxe vinyl. Learn more about Sophie Faught.


Full list of clinicians coming soon!

Arrival Time

A detailed schedule will be provided to each director approximately two weeks prior to the event with their bands performance/clinic time and location. All festival events will take place in Lilly Hall or the Schrott Center for the Arts on Butler’s campus. There will be time for a brief warm-up in the performance room before the clinic begins. Groups should allow plenty of time to arrive to campus, park, and load into their respective performance rooms. View interactive campus map online or download PDF version.

Drop-Off and Pick-Up

Students and directors should be dropped off and picked up using the circle drive in front of Clowes Memorial Hall, near the main entrance to Butler University on Sunset Avenue. The circle drive has a sidewalk leading to both venues of the festival, Lilly Hall and the Schrott Center for the Arts. View interactive campus map online or download PDF version.

Bus Parking

Busses should park in the Hinkle Fieldhouse lot on 49th street. View campus map.

Equipment and Storage

Butler will provide drum sets, cymbals, piano, bass amp, guitar amp, vibes, chairs and stands at every performance location. Amp cords will be the responsibility of the bands. Instruments can be securely stored in the basement of the Schrott Center for the Arts.  

Dinner and Dining Options

Dinner will be on your own. If you’re interested in eating on campus, there are three locations: the MarketPlace at Atherton Union, Plum Market, and Chatham Tap.  

Closing Concert

Info coming soon!

Submitting Payment

All registered groups should have received a registration confirmation email with a summary of payment options, which include paying online via credit card or mailing a check payment. There is a $250 participation fee per Ensembles and a $200 participation fee per Combo due no later than Monday, November 20. Payment options are below:

  • Credit card payments should be submitted via the online Benny Golson Jazz Festival Payment Form. If you have multiple groups participating, please submit one online payment form per group.
  • Check payments should be mailed to Butler University School of Music, attn. Benny Golson Jazz Fest, 4600 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46208. If you have multiple groups participating, please indicate the number of groups in the check memo.
  • Payment submission deadline: Monday, November 20, 2023, check payments should be postmarked prior to November 21. Email with questions or issues submitting payments.

Contact Information

Matt Pivec, Professor of Music, Director of Jazz Studies

317-940-9068 |