Dr. Mary Beth Bennett is a nationally recognized performer, composer and improviser living in historic Richmond, Virginia where she serves on the adjunct music faculty of the University of Richmond and is Director of Music Ministries at First Presbyterian Church, Gloucester. Having previously held various positions in Washington, D.C., including at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and as Ceremonial Organist for the United States Department of Defense, she holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Stetson University, the Staatliche Hochschüle für Musik (Cologne, Germany), and the University of Southern California. She pursued postdoctoral study in plainchant at the Catholic University of America. Her organ teachers have included David Craighead, Paul Jenkins, Paul Manz, Michael Schneider, Ladd Thomas and Cherry Rhodes.
The winner of numerous awards in performance and composition, she has received commissions in multiple genres from the American Guild of Organists, National Association of Pastoral Musicians, Association of Anglican Musicians, The Paul VI Institute for the Arts, Millennia Consort and various churches, chamber ensembles and private parties. Her primary composition teacher has been James F. Hopkins. She maintains a studio of improvisation students and has served as a judge for the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation, and presented improvisation seminars for major conventions of the AGO and NPM as well as the Smithsonian Institution. She has served as a judge for the national women’s composition competition of AAM and the AGO International Year of the Organ composition competition.
As a performing member of the Liturgical Organists Consortium she recorded three compact discs which have garnered critical acclaim, including a “Golden Ear Award” for best organ CD of the year from Absolute Sound Magazine, and her most recent CD, Bennett plays Bennett was recorded in 2015. Her performances and compositions have been featured multiple times on APM's Pipe Dreams with Michael Barone.