CVYO Artistic Director and Conductor, Bill Benson is a freelance musician (double bassist), teacher and adjudicator for Heritage Music Festivals. He is a 1976 graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and holds a degree in Music Education with Master’s credit in conducting with Jackson Wiley, Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana and Elizabeth Green, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Mr. Benson has been conducting youth orchestras since 1974 and has held numerous positions as a youth orchestra conductor throughout the Midwest. His youth orchestra work began in southern California in 1992 as coach for the Conejo Youth Symphony where, after the transition to the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra, he created a string-feeder program. Upon the retirement of Mrs. Carol Alexander in 1999, Maestro Benson accepted the position of Artistic Director/Conductor of the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras.
In 2002, Mr. Benson was honored to receive the Encore Statue Award representing Excellence in the Arts, from the Thousand Oaks Arts Commission. In 2009, Mr. Benson traveled to Vienna, Austria, to conduct the International Haydn Festival Orchestra which consisted of 26 CVYO student musicians and 33 professionals from the United States and Austria.
In 2011 Maestro Benson was appointed as orchestra director for the Global Community Orchestra of Corporate Travel. He conducted two concerts in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 3 and 4, in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. One of those concerts was held on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri. In 2013 Mr. Benson was awarded the Ventura County Arts Council Art Stars Award for Music Education.