Principal, Valerie and Hans Imhof Chair
Benjamin Smolen was appointed principal flutist of Pacific Symphony in September 2011, where he occupies the Valerie and Hans Imhof Chair. He has won top prizes at the Haynes International Flute Competition, James Pappoutsakis Memorial Flute Competition, National Flute Association Young Artist Competition and New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition. He has given solo performances in Russia, Japan, Belgium, France and as concerto soloist with Pacific Symphony, Princeton University Orchestra, Charlotte Civic and Youth Orchestras, and Gardner Webb Symphony Orchestra. Smolen’s performances have been featured on NPR (Performance Today and From the Top), WGBH-Boston, WDAV-Charlotte, French National Radio, and the Naxos and Mode record labels. Additionally, he can be heard on the soundtracks for movies such as Monsters University, Planes, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Night at the Museum and the 2015 movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He recently released his debut album, Bach to Beaser, with guitarist Jerome Mouffe. Smolen studied at Princeton University, the Moscow Conservatory, the New England Conservatory and the University of Michigan. His primary teachers include Paula Robison, Michael Parloff and Aleksandr Golyshev. He is a William S. Haynes Artist and performs on a handmade, custom-crafted Haynes 14-karat gold flute.