Skip Navigation

Southern Oregon University

Professor of Music
Saxophone, Clarinet, Chamber Music

Phone: (541) 552-6534
Office: MU 207
E-Mail: bender @


BM, 1992, Iowa State University
MM, 1994, D.Mus.A., 2000, University of Georgia

Other Professional Activities:
  • Director of the Siskiyou Saxophone Workshop
  • Director of Ashland Chamber Music Workshop
  • Region 1 Director: North American Saxophone Alliance
  • Founding member and soprano saxophone, Globe Saxophone Quartet
  • Artistic Director Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra
  • Founding member and soprano saxophone, Mazama Saxophone Quartet
  • Artistic Director Cascade Clarinet Consort

Rhett Bender teaches as saxophone artist/teacher-in-residence at the Sichuan Conservatory of Classical Music in Chengdu, China each spring. Bender has played principal clarinet and Eb clarinet with the Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra, Redding Symphony Orchestra, Rogue Music Theatre, and the Rogue Opera. As a saxophonist he has performed with the Britt Festival, the Des Moines and Augusta Symphony Orchestras. Bender has been a member of the critically acclaimed Oregon Shakespeare Festival as a Green Show performer and on stage musician in As You Like It. Prior to his appointment at SOU, he taught at the University of Georgia, Georgia College in Milledgeville, Emory University in Atlanta, and the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program for the Artistically Talented in Valdosta.

An active soloist and clinician, he has performed and presented master-classes at the XIIIth,  XIVth and XVIth World Saxophone Congresses, Chengdu China International Contemporary Music Festival, Montana Saxophone Festival, the College Music Society, the Kentucky Music Teachers Association Conference, the Iowa Band Master’s Association, the College Band Directors National Association, the North American Saxophone Alliance, and the Southeastern Composers’ League. In 1998 he won a first prize in the Musical Club of Seattle Debut Tour Competition. As a member of the Athens Saxophone Quartet, Bender was a first prize winner in 1995 National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors National Symposium Chamber Music Competition and twice competed in the semi-final round of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

As the Artistic Director of the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra much time is spent performing and commissioning new works for saxophone. Successful tours of Mexico in 2001 and China in 2005 and 2007 attracted the attention of several composers and have generated dozens of new works for saxophone quartet and saxophone orchestra.