department of music

Fine Arts Center, Suite E, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

music@uri.edu401.874.2431 or 401.874.5955

URI
Think Big, We Do.
Rhode Island Seal

Ben Griffin

  • Artist/Teacher in Classical & Jazz Trombone
  • Department of Music
  • Phone: 401.874.2431
  • Email: griffinben@uri.edu
  • Mailing Address: Department of Music
    Fine Arts Center
    105 Upper College Road
    Kingston, RI 02881

Biography

A native of Springfield, Mass., Ben Griffin has led a varied musical career spanning several genres and styles. Griffin first came to prominent attention as low brass soloist for the Tony Award-winning theater show Blast! A member of the original cast in London’s West End in 1999, he continued with the first national tour and Broadway run of the show until 2001. In addition to performing on seven different brass instruments, Griffin also originated the infamous role of the unicycling trombonist.

In 2001, Griffin made New York City his home and soon became an in-demand trombonist, performing with the Big Apple Circus, Darlene Love, Isaac Hayes, Jerry Vivino, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, Olivia Newton John, Frankie Valli, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Jay and the Americans, Lou Christie, Bobby Vinton, the Awakening Orchestra, Darcy James’ Secret Society, Bobby Sinabria Big Band, the Jamie Begian Big Band, Orchestra Bella, the Staten Island Opera, and many other commercial pursuits. He has also appeared on the Today Show and on Conan O’Brien. In 2005, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in jazz studies from the Manhattan School of Music.

From 2005-2010, Griffin served as assistant principal trombonist with the United States Coast Guard Band in New London, Conn., where he played in the Concert Band, Brass Quintet, Masters of Swing, and Dixieland Jazz Band. In addition to the hundreds of performances and several CDs released during his tenure, Griffin was a featured soloist with the band on national and international tours, as well as a featured soloist with the Joint Services Concert Band in 2013. He coordinated the Educational Outreach Program during his last year with the band.

While in Conn., he again became an in-demand freelancer playing with the Hartford Jazz Orchestra (under the direction of Donn Trenner), Goodspeed musicals, the Galvanized Jazz Band, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Yale Jazz Ensembles, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (under the direction of Buddy Morrow), and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, in addition to continued freelance work in New York City.

In 2014, Griffin moved to Boston. He has maintained a healthy freelance career across the Northeast, including performing and recording with the Awakening Orchestra (NYC), New England Jazz Ensemble, the Brian Thomas/Alex Lee Clark Big Band, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, Hal MacIntyre Orchestra, Dan Gabel and the Abeltones, the Wolverine Jazz Band.

In the spring of 2015, Griffin became visiting professor of trombone URI. His principle teachers are David Sporny (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Jack Gale (New York Brass Quintet), and David Taylor (International Bass Trombone Soloist). Griffin is an S.E. Shires performing artist.

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in jazz studies, Manhattan School of Music, 2005.

Copyright © 2017 University of Rhode Island.

The University of Rhode Island
Think Big, We Do.
A-ZDirectoryContact UsJump to top