Dr. Michael Benson


Dr. Michael Benson

Executive Director

The Richland Academy of the Arts (RAA) Board of Directors has named Dr. Michael Benson, NCTM (Nationally Certified Teacher of Music) as the new Executive Director.

Dr. Benson served as Professor of Music, Coordinator of Keyboard Studies, and Director of the Malone University Preparatory Program at Malone University for the past eleven years. He served eight years as Department Chair for Music and completed a two-year term as Faculty Chair in May 2019. He has performed at the Smithsonian Institution, Steinway Hall in New York, and in Chicago at Preston Bradley Hall on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series and contributed to numerous published articles. His teaching experience spans from Interlochen Summer Camps in Texas to Ohio State Lima, University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, Oakland University (MI) and Carl Sandburg College in Illinois prior to his tenure with Malone University. During Fall 2001, he was invited to teach piano, piano pedagogy, and group piano as a foreign expert at JiMei University in Xiamen, People's Republic of China.

He continues to be active in Ohio Music Teachers Association (OhioMTA) where he serves as the Buckeye Auditions Chairperson and host. He has also served OhioMTA as the State Chair for Professional Piano Certification and was Northwest District Chair for two terms as well as Buckeye Auditions Chair for the Northwest and Middle-West Districts. Other offices include serving for two terms as the East Central Division Commissioner for Professional Certification. 

He completed a term as Vice President for Membership on the Executive Board for OhioMTA in 2018. Currently, he is serving as a Board member for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.

Dr. Benson holds a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University where he studied piano with Dr. Robert Roux. He holds the Master of Music and Doctoral of Musical Arts degrees from The University of Texas at Austin where he studied piano and piano pedagogy with Professors Martha Hilley, Sophia Gilmson and Nancy Garrett.

Michael and his wife Denise live in Lexington, Ohio where Denise teaches high school math and coaches the Lexington High School boys and girls cross-country teams. They have one son, Kevin, who is pursuing a terminal degree in bio-medical engineering at Penn State University and a soon-to-be daughter-in-law named Ali Saneda who is a physical therapist.


The staff at the Richland Academy shares in your desire for all to have an exceptional experience with the arts. The best way to see if the programs

currently offered at the Academy are a fit for you is to request information.

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