Giving Back–An Alumnus Strengthens the Juilliard Library
Trumpeter Donald Benedetti started his career with a bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School, and is now giving back to Juilliard with a planned bequest to further strengthen the Donald A. Benedetti Library Fund, which he established in 2005. At Juilliard, he was a student of William Vacchiano, the legendary teacher and longtime trumpeter with the New York Philharmonic. In addition to studying at Juilliard, Don received his master’s degree and undertook doctoral studies at Columbia University.
“Before coming to Juilliard I had hardly ventured beyond the confines of Trenton, NJ,” Don says. “I was inspired by the Sunday afternoon broadcasts on the radio, and encouraged by local musicians who urged me to audition for Juilliard, so I gave it a try. This was despite the fact that there was no way my working class parents could afford it. Juilliard heard my audition and recommended that I be admitted on scholarship. To this day, I remain grateful for the generosity shown me by Juilliard, and to repaying the School with a lasting financial endowment.”
After his time at Juilliard, Don went on to a long career in music, beginning with three years as principal trumpet of the U.S. Army Field Band. He also served as principal trumpet of the American Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski, and performed with the orchestras of the New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Martha Graham Dance Company, and the American Ballet Theater. He played on Broadway in the orchestra for Camelot, as well as for 15 other musicals. In total, he was a professional trumpeter for 30 years, with a culminating performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with the Newtown Chamber Orchestra.
Two trumpet professorships were created for Don; at Ball State University in 1965, and at The College of New Jersey in 1968. In both positions he performed as trumpet soloist with college wind ensembles, while maintaining a large studio of trumpet majors in both colleges. His publication “Magic Lip Conditioners” addressed how to deal with overtaxed embouchures for active performers, and was favorably endorsed by many professional brass players, including Mr. Vacchiano. Don, now a Professor Emeritus at the College of New Jersey, is retired from teaching and performing. He lives with his wife Mary in University Park, Florida where they enjoy taking part in the rich cultural activities of the Sarasota area.
In addition to music, it is books and libraries, particularly the Lila Acheson Wallace Library at Juilliard, that mean so much to Don, and this inspired him to make a difference.
“In recognition of the four-year scholarship I received at Juilliard, and the rich musical experiences this offered” he says, “together with my lifelong love of books and libraries, I established the Donald A. Benedetti Library Fund, and am adding to it through a residual gift in my will.”
Over more than a decade, the fund he established at Juilliard has made a big difference to the Library, making possible the acquisition of many rare and special items, which have enhanced the Library’s holdings. The Juilliard School is tremendously grateful to Donald Benedetti for all that he has done to strengthen this vital resource for the entire Juilliard community, and beyond.
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