Benjamin Paley, a Valley of the Sun native, first found his love for the bassoon at an early age. The instrument first appealed to Ben in a third grade field trip to see Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. To young Ben, no sound had more allure than that of the bassoon as the affectionate grandfather.
Since then, Ben has played bassoon with the Symphony of the Southwest, including two seasons with its partner youth orchestra, the Youth Symphony of the Southwest. He was a four-year member of the Arizona Southwest Region Band/Orchestra and a three-year member of the Arizona All-State Band/Orchestra.
Ben currently teaches general music at JD Sutton Elementary School in Phoenix, a part of the Isaac School District. Likewise, Ben teaches guitar lessons and other various music history and music theory classes through the Phoenix Conservatory of Music.
First arranging music for the marching band in high school, Ben arranged both classical and pop music through his undergraduate career for various ensembles besides the Driftwood Quintet, including from 2011-2012, the bassoon rock band Bocal Adrenaline.
Ben went on to receive his Bachelor of Music degree from Arizona State University, studying with Albie Micklich. Ben also earned a concurrent Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and a degree from Barrett, the Honors college, completing his honors thesis, “Integrating Music and Studying: The Relationships Between Music, Affect, and Academic Achievement”.
Ben also plays bass, performing with big bands and small combos throughout the East Valley, and playing electric bass in his synagogue rock band, the Shabbat-tones of Temple Emanuel of Tempe. Also a singer and songwriter, Ben performs and records music with his childhood friend Charles Wanless under the name “other Desert Cities”. Their first album “The History of What's to Come” released in 2015 and a follow up album is expected in early 2017.