Skip Navigation

Southern Oregon University


Dr. Rhett L. Bender (李 德), is a Professor of Music at Southern Oregon University Department of Music where he teaches saxophone, clarinet and chamber music.  In the summer he is the Director of the Siskiyou Saxophone Workshop and the Ashland Chamber Music Workshop. Additionally, he is the Region 1 Director of the North American Saxophone Alliance (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming). He frequently teaches as saxophone artist/teacher-in-residence at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China. 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. Bender attended the University of Nebraska, Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, and earned degrees from Iowa State University (BM) and the University of Georgia (MM, D.Mus.A.) where he was a student of Kenneth Fischer. 

An active soloist and clinician, he has performed and presented master-classes at the XIIIth and XIVth 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 Ladies Musical Club of Seattle Debut Tour Competition. In February of 2003 Bender organized and hosted the NASA Region 1 Conference on the campus of SOU. As a member of the Athens Saxophone Quartet (now the Globe 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 a founding member and soprano saxophonist of both the Globe Saxophone Quartet and Siskiyou Saxophone Quartet much time is spent performing and commissioning new works for quartet. 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. As a member of Trillium Ensemble with hornist Jody Schmidt and pianist Alexander Tutunov, Bender has performed in Guiyan and Sichuan Province in China as well as Ljubljana, Slovenia. Additionally, Bender is the director of the sixteen member Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra which recently returned from a tour of Yantai and Shanghai, China. In Shanghai they performed at the China Music Trade Show as guests of Mercury Saxophones.

Many composers have written solo or ensemble works for Bender including Todd Barton, Carleton Macy, John Kline, Wayne Slawson, P. Peter Sacco, Gregory Yasinitsky, Stephen Truelove, Mark Jacobs, Derek Keller, Mark Knippel, Jenifer Jaseau, Travis Moddison, Keith Smelcer, John Cooper, Robert Romza, Howard Frazin, Shih-Hui Chen, John McDonald and Tim Waters. He has been a featured soloist with the Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra, St. Norbert Wind Ensemble, Skyline Brass Quintet, Rogue Wind Ensemble, Emory Wind Ensemble, Ashland City Band, and numerous university bands and orchestras. His live performances have been broadcast over KING-FM in Seattle, Peach State Public Radio, Iowa Public Radio, and Jefferson Public Radio. He is one of the featured saxophonists (volume 1 and 4) on AUR’s landmark seven volume CD set, America’s Millennium Tribute to Adolphe Sax – nominated for a Grammy in 2000. As clarinetist, Bender recorded the Lev Abeliovich Sonata with pianist Alexander Tutunov for Altarus Records. His solo saxophone CDs Transformations and Meldings were distributed by

Rhett Bender is a Yamaha performing artist and clinician. He plays the YSS-875EXHGP soprano saxophone, the YAS-875EXGP alto saxophone, the YTS-875EX tenor saxophone, CSGH Bb and A clarinets, YCL-622 bass clarinet and the YCL-681 Eb Clarinet.

Rhett Bender

Upcoming Events of 2010-2011 with Rhett Bender, his students and Guest Performers
Oct 31 Rhett Bender premieres Dan Maske's Far Corner for soprano saxophone and Wind Ensemble with the Rogue Valley Symphonic Band conducted by Frederick Schmidt at 3PM Medford Presbyterian Church
Nov 12 Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra presents the Influence of Folk Music at 7:30PM Music Recital Hall
Feb 18 Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra Concert with pre-concert at 7:30PM Music Recital Hall
Feb 23 Guest Recital Duo Montagnard saxophone and guitar 7:30PM Music Recital Hall
March 11-12 North American Saxophone Alliance Region 1 Meeting at the University of Montana
April 23-30 In-residence at the Sichuan Conservatory, Chengdu, China
May 20 Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra presents Lucie Robert's 10 + 1 with Drs. John and Linda Bleuel at 7:30PM Music Recital Hall
June Saxophone Workshop at the University of Wyoming
July 10-15 Ashland Chamber Music Workshop Week 1
July 16-22 Ashland Chamber Music Workshop Week 2


Rhett Bender performs "Tag" by Eric Stokes

Rhett Bender is a Yamaha Performing Artist.

Saxophone and Clarinet related links

Link to Saxophone Repertoire List [PDF]

Link to Clarinet Repertoire List  [PDF]

Link to Globe Saxophone Quartet 

Link to Clarinet Ensemble

Rhett Bender Home Page


Youtube Video