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Faculty Profile

Karen Benda

Part-time Lecturer
College of Arts and Sciences
Garvey Fine Arts Center
Rm 329
1700 SW College Ave
Topeka, KS 66621-1117
Degrees & Certifications
University of Oklahoma, Bachelor of Music
University of Cincinnati, Master of Music
Univ of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Doctor of Musical Arts
Academic History

Clarinetist Karen Benda is an avid chamber musician, recitalist and artist-teacher who plays with a “well-defined sound and nuance of phrasing.” (Cincinnati Enquirer).  Benda has presented numerous chamber music concerts at the Interlochen Arts Camp while also being featured on National Public Radio’s (NPR) Performance Today in a performance of Beethoven’s Septet. Benda has held teaching residencies at the University of Costa Rica in San Jose, CR and in Colombia, South America as an artist-faculty member of the Batuta Colombian Youth Philharmonic. She has also been featured on KPR Radio station’s live performance studio.

Benda is Lecturer Professor of Clarinet at Washburn University and Instructor of Clarinet at the Interlochen Arts Camp during the summer. She has performed at various venues including the Sunflower Music Festival, the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest and the International Double Reed Society. She has also held teaching positions at Ohio University, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department, and a graduate assistantship at the University of Michigan. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan, a Masters degree from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Music Education degree from the University of Oklahoma. Benda previously attended the Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West and was a substitute clarinetist for the New World Symphony. An advocate of body awareness for musicians Benda has presented numerous master classes on this subject. She is working towards a certification in the Alexander Technique, a neuromuscular method that changes a person’s movement (habits) to discover balance, ease and natural movement.


Scholarly Interests/Activities

Member of International Clarinet Association

Member of WU Faculty Woodwind Quintet

Member of the Amical Trio

Dr. Benda is on the faculty at the renowned Interlochen Arts Camp in the summers, Interlochen, MI

Service Interests/Activities

Founder and director of Topeka Youth Clarinet Choirs

Faculty Advisor for the Washburn University Clarinet Association.

Instructor and Advisor for the Washburn University Musician Wellness Group

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Washburn University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, or marital or parental status. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Pamela Foster, Equal Opportunity Director/Title IX Coordinator, Washburn University, 1700 SW College Ave, Topeka, Kansas 66621, 785.670.1509,

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