Jim Benitez, trumpet 1972-1976 and Priscilla Phillips Benitez, violin 1974-1977

April 7, 2015

I was Principal Trumpet in PSG/PYS during high school 1972-1976. I won an audition and went directly into the Phoenix Symphony after graduating from high school in 1976. I was 2nd Trumpet in the Phoenix Symphony until 1993 when I left the orchestra to perform as Principal Trumpet in two orchestras in Sweden and one in Norway. My wife, Priscilla Phillips Benitez, played violin with PSG/PYS 1974-1977. She performed in the Swedish orchestras with me. We returned to the USA in 1998 and have worked with the AZ Opera Orchestra since. Our son, Nathan Benitez (who was born while we lived in Sweden), played Principal Trombone in PYS.

Perhaps you already know that my nephew is Will Tucker, who has been the PYS Tuba player for a few years until he graduated high school in May, 2014.  Noah Dugan, a former trumpet student of mine, was Principal Trumpet of PYS for a few years and is now studying at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. He studied with me for 5 years until the end of his freshman year in high school at which point I sent him, at my urging, to my old colleague Benny Nguyen who is Associate Principal Trumpet with the Phoenix Symphony.