Benjamin Smolen was appointed Principal Flutist of Pacific Symphony in September 2011. Since beginning his studies at the age of 10 in Charlotte, North Carolina, he has won top prizes at the Haynes International Flute Competition, the James Pappoutsakis Memorial Flute Competition and the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition. He has also given solo performances with the Princeton University Orchestra, Charlotte Civic and Youth Orchestras, Gardner Webb Symphony Orchestra, and on National Public Radios From the Top with pianist Christopher ORiley. His performances have been featured on NPR, WGBH-Boston, French National Radio, and the Naxos and Mode record labels. During the summer, Smolen has participated in the Manchester Music Festival, the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, and twice as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.
Smolen completed his undergraduate studies in the Music and Slavic departments at Princeton University, during which time he also completed a Performance Diploma at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He subsequently earned a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance at the New England Conservatory and a Performance Certificate from the University of Michigan. His primary teachers include Paula Robison, Michael Parloff, Amy Porter, Jayn Rosenfeld and Jennifer Dior.